Idaho bill would move state audit agency under GOP control

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that would eliminate Idaho’s only bipartisan legislative committee and place the state’s independent auditing agency under Republican control.

Representative Megan Blanksma, the House Majority Leader, introduced the legislation to the House Committee on State Affairs. It would abolish the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee — which has an equal number of Republican and Democratic members — and instead place the Office of Performance Evaluations under the control of the Legislative Council, which has a Republican majority.

This would be a big shift for the Office of Performance Evaluations, established in 1994 to review government agency activities and assess government accountability. The office is not well known outside of the Statehouse, but over the past three decades it has produced more than 170 reports identifying millions of dollars in potential taxpayer savings and highlighting gaps and inefficiencies in countless state programs.

Currently, the legislature can send evaluation requests to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, which then selects three or four each year to be assigned to the Office of Performance Evaluation. The in-depth assessments can take months, and the results are presented to the committee at a public meeting and published online.

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