The following is a release from State Sen. Kenneth Donnelly (D-Arlington):
The Senate on July 12, unanimously passed a conference committee report on bipartisan legislation that makes fundamental changes in the operations of state government, updating antiquated finance laws and implementing performance measurement requirements for all government agencies and programs to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability.
“I am happy with the bill that came out of our conference committee,” said Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly (D-Arlington), conferee and Senate chair of the Joint Committee of State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. “It is a good government bill that helps bring us into the 21st century by updating laws on state finance and management practices. It continues the Senate’s focus on reforming, streamlining and improving the performance and cost effectiveness of state government.”
Originally filed by Senate President Therese Murray in April 2011, the final legislation requires the use of data to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of agencies and programs throughout state government, including the executive branch.
For the first time, each agency will be required to have a performance management system in place and develop a strategic plan for measuring performance that can be evaluated publicly and by the Legislature and Governor.
The bill modernizes state government by pushing agencies toward more efficient electronic accounting and reporting systems with the elimination of outdated paper-based methods.
Additionally, the bill establishes a commission to make recommendations on the feasibility of moving the Commonwealth from traditional “maintenance”-based budgeting to a modern “zero”-based budgeting process for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016. This budgeting method is finding great success in some states, including Utah and Virginia.
The conference report must now be taken up by the House of Representatives. Final action to send the bill to the Governor is expected next week.