Lawmaker Proud Of Bills That Make State Government More Responsive

Published 11:45 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Virginia General Assembly has completed the 2015 Legislative Session, and the governor has taken final action on all items that were handled during veto session

One of his most recent actions was to sign into law House Bill 1842 and House Bill 2323. These two bills made structural changes to our state government with the intentions of making it more responsive and effective.

HB 1842 deals with the states issuances of performance and incentive grants. It instructs the state that no more than $20 million in Virginia Investment Performance Grants may be outstanding at one time. It further instructs the state to begin payments that are under the Major Eligible Employer Grant Program to begin after three years following the approval of the grant by the secretary of commerce and trade. It also requires that MEI project approval commission to review incentive packages that will be in excess of $10 million. It is the legislature’s hopes to reduce the state’s long-term liability in the form of grant payments while at the same time make it more accessible for major businesses to create jobs here in the commonwealth.

The second bill signed by the governor is HB2323. This bill clarifies the role and duties of the chief information officer. It provides the CIO with the authority to execute aspects of the job with-out the routine approval of the secretary of technology. The Virginia Legislative Information System lists the following summary:

Clarifies responsibilities related to information technology in the Commonwealth. The bill provides the Chief Information Officer (CIO) with the authority to approve and make decisions related to information technology projects, procurements, and standards without requiring the routine approval of the Secretary of Technology. The bill provides that the Secretary of Technology is responsible for overseeing enterprise information technology projects and communicating regularly with the Governor and other Secretaries regarding information technology services, initiatives, and investments in the Commonwealth. The bill also requires that agency and department heads follow policies and procedures put in place by the CIO regarding the security of government information and establishes requirements ensuring that procurement provisions are followed regarding the purchase of information technology. The changes in the bill are recommendations of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.

I am glad to see Virginia takes steps to make government more responsive. I hope the changes in the grant program will help reduce long-term commitments and liabilities; while at the same time, I hope it helps fund projects that will have a productive impact on the commonwealth. I am also excited to see that our state agencies are constantly reviewing their structure to make sure each agency is operating in the most efficient manner. I hope this clarification and change will help the state adapt at a competitive rate in regards to a constantly growing technology field.

I would like to thank all the veterans who have served our country and defended our freedom. I would like to start using this newsletter to recognize returning veterans and service members of the U.S. military. Please let us know if you have a loved one who is scheduled to come home and you would like to recognize them for their service.

State Delegate C. Matt Fariss, R-Rustburg, represents Buckingham County in the Virginia House of Delegates. His email address is Delmfariss@house.virginia.gov.