On Tuesday, the Boards and Commissions Review Committee (BCRC) created in the Governor’s realignment bill (Division XIX of SF5514) met to discuss and deliver their preliminary recommendations. After reviewing the effectiveness of all 256 Iowa boards, commissions, and similar entities in the state, the BCRC recommended eliminating or merging over 100 entities.
Out of 256 current boards and commissions, the committee recommends that 52 are consolidated, 47 are reorganized, and 69 are fully eliminated. Only 88 are slated to continue with no changes.
Kraig Paulsen, director of the Iowa Department of Management and the committee chairman, said the recommendation process discovered issues with existing boards and commissions.
The subcommittees also recommended changes that would remove some of the powers of certain boards and commissions. The proposals included:
- Removing the Alcoholic Beverages Commission’s rulemaking approval and its authority to reverse the actions of the State Director of Revenue.
- Shifting rulemaking authority from the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission to the Iowa Communications Network (ICN), and having the ICN director be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the governor.
- Removing policymaking and rulemaking authority from the state Soil Conservation and Water Quality Committee.
- Removing the gender-balanced board requirement.
Governor Reynolds said, “Iowans should submit their feedback on the committee’s preliminary recommendations, helping this committee put together a well-rounded final proposal. Reviewing Iowa’s 256 boards and commissions is long overdue, and Iowans now have the chance to weigh in on how their taxpayer dollars should be used to support them.”
Members of the public can submit comments to the committee by emailing BCRCcomments@iowa.gov. There is also an opportunity to address the committee at its meeting for public input on Wednesday, September 6 at noon. Interested parties must email the same address to request to speak.
The committee will submit a report with final recommendations to the Governor and Iowa Legislature by September 30. Recommendations made by the BCRC Committee will need legislative approval in the upcoming 2024 legislative session before any report proposals are enacted.
Key Recommendations and Findings
The BCRC released five key findings and eight recommendations.
|FINDING 1||Iowa’s administrative state will continue to grow without an effective mechanism to review boards and commissions.|
|FINDING 2||The current organization of advisory boards is neither effective nor efficient.|
|FINDING 3||Iowa should strive for better public participation in its boards and commissions process.|
|FINDING 4||Part-time boards and commissions are rarely well-positioned to manage the core functions of executive branch agencies.|
|FINDING 5||Iowa requires a license or certification for too many occupations, and its standards across all license types are inconsistent, inefficient, and unequal.|
|RECOMMENDATION 1||Establish an ongoing review process for all boards and commissions, including meaningful enforcement of sunrise and sunset provisions.|
|RECOMMENDATION 2||Allow more meaningful perspective for public officials by streamlining the structure of advisory boards.|
|RECOMMENDATION 3||Modernize Iowa’s open meetings laws and expand public participation by more easily allowing virtual or hybrid meeting options.|
|RECOMMENDATION 4||Allow boards and commissions to convene only as truly needed by removing arbitrary meeting requirements.|
|RECOMMENDATION 5||Allow the most qualified Iowans to serve on boards and commissions by repealing the arbitrary gender-balance requirement.|
|RECOMMENDATION 6||Increase engagement on identified critical boards and commissions by compensating members for their “part-time” work.|
|RECOMMENDATION 7||Clarify the budget and rulemaking roles of a part-time board or commission that oversees a full-time executive branch agency.|
|RECOMMENDATION 8||Implement clear, consistent, and efficient licensing standards to reduce barriers to entry into the workforce.|