Monday, July 13, 2009

Saving Money - Streamlining Government Services

A few days ago, the Speaker of the House announced his approval of a list of interim studies that will be conducted during the next few months. These studies will potentially form the basis for future legislation and give legislators a chance to examine new ideas without being under the constraints of the normal series of legislative deadlines.

One of the studies commissioned during the 2007 interim started the House modernization of government processes effort that evolved into the cost-saving modernization legislation that was approved this past year.

This year, in conjunction with the Vice-Chairman of the Government Modernization Committee, Rep. David Derby from Owasso, we have asked for and received approval for a series of six studies that I hope will result in the next round of modernization legislation.

One of the studies will focus on the possible consideration of consolidating state government human resource functions into one entity, as opposed to being spread out among all of the different state agencies. This particular reform could result in taxpayer savings very similar to the successful consolidation of the state's IT systems that the legislature approved this year.

A second study will consider the possible consolidation of state government licensing and permitting functions into a small number of state government entities, instead of being spread out among a number of individual bureaucracies. This reform would not only result in taxpayer savings, but would potentially create a much more user-friendly experience for those who are currently forced to get professional licenses and permits from a series of separate bureaucracies.

Putting to use new technology to enable better purchasing processes and transparency in government is the subject matter of a study which will allow us to follow up on past purchasing reforms and look at how we can make government spending become completely transparent and accessible to everyone. I believe that every penny of expended taxpayer dollars should be subject to the immediate review of the people.

The subject matter of one of the studies is ensuring the application of technology to provide additional public access to legislative proceedings, which is a very important issue. There has been significant progress along these lines in the past and I hope there will be more in the very near future. It has been my goal to see the day when televised content of legislative proceedings can be provided to everyone.

Another study will explore the potential savings and enhanced interactivity between government and the public through the employment of open source and social media technologies. I believe we can find examples of other government entities that have successfully employed some of these strategies.

If you have a personal story, specific insight or expertise concerning the any of the interim study subject matters, please be sure to contact me. With your help, some of the ideas from these studies will result in a new round of money-saving legislation.

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