An act that would allow Ohio government departments to automatically expire under newly revised sunset laws unless their operations are approved to continue by lawmakers is one step closer to becoming law.
The House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 329 Dec. 8. The act passed the Senate in September where it was co-sponsored by Senators Bob Peterson (R-Washington CH) and Bob Hackett (R-London).
According to the text of Senate Bill 329, the House and Senate will schedule reviews for government departments, such as the departments of health, agriculture, Medicaid, aging, and developmental disabilities. If the General Assembly does not agree to renew the department’s operations before the expiration date, the department will be forced to “wind up operations” and “suspend operating at midnight on the day after the expiration date.”
Some of the departments that would be reviewed and voted upon to continue or expire under the new sunset law include the departments of administrative services, rehabilitation and correction, agriculture, health, public safety, transportation developmental disabilities, Medicaid, the development services agency, aging, the office of adjutant general, and the department of higher education.
But if the department is not scheduled for review, it will not automatically expire under the new law, according to the current text of the act.
Policy Matters Ohio researcher Wendy Patton testified before the House Governmental Accountability and Oversight Committee on Nov. 30, 2016.
She said Texas is the only state in which executive departments are vetted for continuation.
“Businesses small and large, from highway contractors to hospitals and nursing homes, should be concerned about SB 329,” said Patton. “The notion that we are going to shut down the state budget office, the Department of Natural Resources or other critical agencies is no laughing matter. Senate Bill 329 proposes an expensive process that would divert time and resources from the delivery of important public services.”
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton