Causer Supports Government Reform Measures

PA State Rep. Martin Causer News Release

HARRISBURG – The state House overwhelmingly approved a package of bills this week aimed at making needed government reforms, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) said today.

“As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to ensure state government is accountable for its actions,” Causer said. “One of the best ways to do that is to bring transparency to everything we do, and these bills represent a first step in that direction.”

Most notable among the reform measures is one that creates a searchable website of government contracts and expenditures called the Pennsylvania Web Accountability, Transparency and Contract Hub, or PennWATCH. The site would include information on appropriations and expenditures for Commonwealth agencies as well as the vendors receiving payment and the funding source for that payment. Under the bill, this information would be available on the website by the end of this year.

Additional information would have to be added by the end of 2013. The information would include hyperlinks to state contracts, a description of the program under which an expenditure is made and the expected outcomes of the expenditure.

“Dozens of states across the country offer this type of website so their citizens can be informed about how their tax dollars are being spent,” Causer said. “The Corbett administration has already indicated its support for this measure, so I am hopeful it will become law very soon.”

In addition to PennWATCH, other reform measures adopted by the House would:

  • Increase penalties for lobbyists who violate the state’s Lobbyist Disclosure Act.
  • Extend whistleblower protections to employees of nonprofits and private sector companies with state contracts who report waste of public money obtained by their employer for services or work.
  • Enhance the state contracting process by allowing for public review of a contract not awarded by a competitive bid process prior to execution of the agreement and by prohibiting an employee of the administration who previously worked for a company bidding on a state contract from participating in the evaluation of that proposal.
  • Prohibit lawmakers from creating nonprofit organizations that receive public funds.

The bills passed the House unanimously and now await consideration in the Senate.

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