Updates to state agency budget process advanced

Lawmakers gave first-round approval March 8 to a bill that would update certain administrative budget practices for state agencies.

Under LB1092, introduced by Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, any department, office, institution or expending agency that proposes changes to its appropriation for the biennium in progress would be required to file budget forms with the office of the Director of Administrative Services (DAS). Forms would have to be filed by Oct. 24 of each odd-numbered year.

In addition, DAS would be required to develop a certification form and procedure, to be included in each budget request, through which each department and agency would certify whether an administered program is an evidence-based program or practice. If not, the department or agency would be required to certify whether the program or practice is reasonably capable of becoming evidence based.

Mello said the bill would codify current practice into state law and enhance the state’s budget process.

“Evidence-based policymaking utilizes the best available data and research gathered from state programs and helps guide policymakers when making important decisions related to that program’s budget request,” he said.

Lincoln Sen. Kathy Campbell supported the bill. She said a recent conference of state legislators provided examples of success in states that had used a similar process to examine child welfare issues.

“I saw states who had done this and they prioritized where they wanted to go based on what they were learning from the programs and best practices,” she said. “This is a very exciting future for our appropriations process.”

The bill advanced to select file 26-0.

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