By Jon Dunwell
The Governor unveiled in her Condition of the State address a proposal to streamline and realign the structure of government to improve the function of state agencies. House Study Bill 126 was introduced in the State Government Committee, and last week, members held public meetings to discuss proposed changes and to hear from stake holders.
To better serve Iowans and ensure government efficiency, the legislation identifies similar operations and services spread across 37 agencies, realigning them into 16. These changes provide a straightforward process for interacting with government without unnecessarily going through multiple agencies.
The changes include, but are not limited to, the following:
Department of Health & Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services will absorb several agencies and programs that serve related services. Early Childhood Iowa will move from the Department of Management and Volunteer Iowa will move from Iowa Economic Development Authority to DHHS. The Department on Aging and the Department of Human Rights will move their services into respective divisions in the DHHS.
Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licenses
The Department of Inspections and Appeals will be renamed the Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licensing (DIAL). Currently, the Department protects the health and safety of Iowans through regulatory and licensing functions. This bill will move more licensing and regulatory services under one Department, providing a more efficient service. The licensing and management of 136 professional licenses are currently overseen by 11 state agencies. Under DIAL the majority of those licenses will consolidate under DIAL.
Additionally, Division of Labor and the Division of Workers Compensation will move from Iowa Workforce Development and operate as divisions within DIAL. Administrative Law Judges will also move under DIAL, providing a centralized location for hearing administrative appeals.
Department of Administrative Services
The Department of Administrative Services is responsible for the management and maintenance of buildings and properties owned by the state of Iowa. Under that responsibility, the Historical Division within the Department of Cultural Affairs and the State Library will be moved to DAS in order to streamline the maintenance and upkeep of these properties.
As the legislative process moves forward the State Government Committee will continue to diligently review the legislation and speak to stakeholders to ensure that government realignment is used as a method to improve the responsiveness and effectiveness of the Government without sacrificing services and accountability.