State agency policies under review



(The Center Square) – Members of the Indiana General Assembly will spend this summer and fall looking at policies in place within some state agencies.

The Government Reform Task Force includes eight lawmakers from both the state House and Senate. It was created by House Bill 1623, passed during this year’s session.

The task force will be able to request information from agencies and have agency officials testify before lawmakers. It’s required to present a report to the full legislature by Nov. 1 and will meet in future years as well.

“I firmly believe that we, as the General Assembly, have a duty to provide the most effective, responsive and transparent government we can for Hoosiers,” said state Sen. Chris Garten, R-Charlestown. “In order to achieve that, after hearing firsthand how agency rules and fines were impacting businesses and individuals across our state, it quickly became evident that a comprehensive review of the rulemaking process would be necessary. This task force will play an important role in ensuring our agencies are serving our Hoosiers’ best interests.”

This year, the task force will review policies in 10 areas: child services, economic development, the criminal justice system, occupational licensing, utilities, health insurance, fiscal policies, public pensions, public health and human services, and transportation.

Within fiscal policy, the panel will examine higher education costs, review the state’s tax incentive programs and study workforce initiatives. The health and human services group will study child care options in the workforce and first responders’ mental health needs.

Lawmakers will also examine costs associated with health care in Indiana.

Garten said members of the Senate GOP caucus were shocked to learn how much profit was made by hospital systems in Indiana.

“These hospitals’ financial reserves are among the highest in the country, and yet they continue to charge exorbitant prices,” he said. “We simply need to do better, and the Health Care Cost Oversight Task Force will not shy away from tackling this issue.”

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