Haslam Signs Bills Reshaping Boards And Commissions, TRA

Effort To Increase Performance, Accountability, Efficiency To Operations

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Wednesday announced he has signed two bills from his 2012 legislative agenda that make structural changes to the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and 21 boards, commissions and licensing programs.

More than 200 of these organizations exist within state government, and many have independent hiring and spending authority with limited oversight.  Gov. Haslam announced a review of state boards and commissions during his 2011 State of the State address, and after a comprehensive evaluation, he proposed reforms to improve performance, accountability and efficiency.

“It is our job to make state government as accountable and responsive as possible to Tennessee taxpayers,” Gov. Haslam said. “These changes are a first step toward increasing the performance, accountability and effectiveness of state government to Tennesseans.”

House Bill 2385/SB 2247 changes the membership of the TRA from four full-time members to five part-time members, allowing the authority to attract well-qualified directors with applicable experience who may not have been able to serve full time. Also, the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House now jointly appoint a full-time executive director. The TRA bill was sponsored by state Reps. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) and Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville) in the House and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Sen. Mike Faulk (R-Kingsport) in the Senate.
 
Among other changes, HB 2387/SB 2249:
 
Eliminates 138 board appointments by combining boards and reducing and reforming the membership of
the Duck River Development Agency,
the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission,
Community Services Agency board, and
the Commission on Aging and Disability;

Combines seven boards into three –
the Conservation Trust Fund Board absorbs the Conservation Commission,
the Oil and Gas Board and Water Quality Control Board are combined to form the Board of Water Quality, Oil and Gas, and
the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Board, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and Solid Waste Board are combined to form the Underground Storage Tanks and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board;

Gives the governor hiring authority for the executive directors of the following five agencies
the Commission on Aging and Disability;
the Commission on Children and Youth;
the Tennessee Higher Education Commission;
the Tennessee Arts Commission; and
the Council on Career and Technical Education.

The boards and commission bill was sponsored by state Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) in the House and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) in the Senate.
 
On April 11, the governor signed HB 2386/SB 2248, which transfers oversight of parolees from the Board of Probation and Parole to the Department of Correction. That proposal was also part of the governor’s public safety action plan.

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