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JLARC to Study Department of Elections and Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations

Every year, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) conducts several in-depth studies in furtherance of their mission to provide “policy analysis, program evaluation, and oversight of state agencies on behalf of the Virginia General Assembly.” On July 10, 2017, the JLARC Study Topic Subcommittee met in Richmond to discuss and vote upon new studies to be conducted over the course of the next year.

At this meeting, the Subcommittee formally approved two study resolutions directing JLARC to conduct full reviews of (1) the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations (DPOR) and (2) the Department of Elections.

DPOR protects the health, safety and welfare of the public by issuing professional credentials and enforcing standards of safety and professional conduct. Despite its broad and diverse reach, DPOR has not been reviewed by JLARC since 1982. As such, JLARC proposed a full agency review, with focus on 1) organization and staffing; 2) public participation and access; 3) standards of professional conduct; 4) standards and fees; 5) budgetary needs; 6) how Virginia compares to other states; and 7) coordination with other Virginia agencies. The resolution was unanimously adopted.

Next, JLARC noted that they had completed a limited review of the Virginia Election and Registration Information System (VERIS) in 2008, but they have not completed a full review of the Department since 1998. As such, JLARC proposed a full agency study with a focus on 1) the administration of elections; 2) training standards and practices for local boards and general registrars; 3) reporting requirements; 4) accuracy and timeliness of voter registration; 5) the efficiency, efficacy, and security of VERIS; and 6) the organization and staffing needs of the agency. After some discussion, JLARC staff agreed to broaden the study and also focus on financial management and funding issues. The resolution was unanimously adopted.

In addition to voting to approve these two studies, the Subcommittee also asked that JLARC staff prepare draft study resolutions on three additional topics: (1) inmate healthcare issues; (2) foster care, adoption, and Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) services; and (3) workers’ compensation. JLARC staff will prepare drafts and present them for discussion and votes at the Subcommittee’s next meeting.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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