That bill, Senate Bill 329, passed the Senate on a mostly party-line vote and is now awaiting a vote in the House.
It would basically put expiration dates on 25 cabinet-level state agencies. Each department would have to justify its existence every four years, and lawmakers would decide whether to extend the agency’s life or do nothing and allow it to cease receiving state funding.
Agencies that issue professional licenses would face additional scrutiny to justify the need for the license they require.
The bill was sponsored by Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, who said in a statement after its Senate passage: “It’s often easy for bureaucracy to quietly grow and lose efficiency.”
“A periodic review will go a long way in not only building transparency and trust in government,” he said, “but also making sure we don’t create barriers for Ohioans needing services or seeking employment and business opportunities in our state.”
Coley, who is chair of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee, said he has heard lawmakers question the need for the state school board, or the Development Services Agency after many of its functions were relegated to JobsOhio.
He noted there are four different regulatory agencies involved in gaming, more than one regulating slot machines.
“Some of that kind of stuff, you scratch your head and say, ‘Why don’t we do this differently?’ ” he said.
But Strahorn said lawmakers can create or abolish agencies whenever they want; he expressed concern with making it too easy to shut down entire state agencies for political purposes.
“The notion that we would create a mechanism that potentially would shut down youth services or shut down the department of education, I don’t know that I really want to go down that road,” Strahorn said.
State lawmakers have named 13, and counting, state committees to be axed:
- Committee to Evaluate the Implementation of TANF Youth Diversion Programs
- Compact with Ohio Cities Task Force
- Direct Care Worker Advisory Workgroup
- Foreign Language Advisory Council
- Governor's Policy Information Working Group
- Legislative Task Force to Study Anaerobic Digesters for Agricultural Use and Application in the State
- Ohio Housing Study Committee
- Ohio Legislative Commission on the Education and Preservation of State History
- Ohio Military Reserve Homeland Security Study Commission
- Ohio Privacy/Public Record Access Study Committee
- Public-Private Collaborative Commission
- Select Committee on Telecommunications Regulatory Reform
- Service Coordination Workgroup
Source: Ohio HB 471 analysis