BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE GOVERNANCE & FINANCE COMMITTEE Senator Lois Wolk, Chair BILL NO: AB 117 HEARING: 7/3/13 AUTHOR: Cooley FISCAL: Yes VERSION: 1/14/13 TAX LEVY: No CONSULTANT: Ewing INDEPENDENT MONITORING OF STATE AGENCIES' ACCOUNTING AND ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS Directs the Department of Finance to develop guidelines to maintain independence and objectivity of staff charged with assessing adequacy of internal accounting and administrative controls. Background and Existing Law The Financial Integrity and State Manager's Accountability Act (FISMA) of 1983 (AB 1840, Baker, 1983) established the statutory responsibility of managers to implement and monitor systems of internal accounting and administrative control. Under FISMA, all levels of management are responsible for assessing and strengthening internal controls to minimize fraud, errors, abuse, and waste of public funds. Internal control systems must include a staffing and organizational plan, access controls for accounting, recordkeeping and expenditure systems, and systems of internal review. FISMA requires the director of each department, every two years, to prepare a report on the adequacy of internal controls, including recommendations for improvement. Each department director is required to submit those reports, along with the director's response to any recommendations, to the agency Secretary, which oversees the department, and the Department of Finance. Copies are to be submitted to the Legislature, the Governor, the Bureau of State Audits, and the State Library where they are made available to the public. Where internal weaknesses are identified, departments are required to provide a plan and schedule for corrective action, with updated reporting every six months until deficiencies are addressed (AB 1806, Committee on Budget, AB 117 -- 1/14/13 -- Page 2 2006). FISMA directs the Department of Finance, in consultation with the Auditor and the Controller, to develop a framework for departments to comply with the Act. In 2011, the Legislature updated FISMA, calling for more active monitoring systems and structures, greater independence and objectivity among employees charged with that monitoring, and periodic updates to the state's internal reporting system and framework for internal reviews (SB 617, Calderon, 2011). Some officials are concerned that the existing system for assessing the adequacy of internal controls is not sufficiently rigorous and needs greater independence and objectivity to preserve the public's interest. Proposed Law Assembly Bill 117 directs the Department of Finance, in consultation with the Controller and State Auditor, to establish guidelines on how to maintain the independence and objectivity of persons charged with monitoring the strength of internal controls, including staffing requirements, the use of training programs, identifying chain-of-command reporting relationships, and identifying best practices in professional development, and independent monitoring. AB 117 also declares that monitoring systems are vital to the development of recommendations to improve program efficiency, through consolidation or restructuring, without undermining effectiveness, quality or customer satisfaction. State Revenue Impact Unknown. Comment Purpose of the bill . Assembly Bill 117 directs the Department of Finance to update its guidelines under the Financial Integrity and State Manager's Accountability Act AB 117 -- 1/14/13 -- Page 3 to ensure that state employees charged with assessing the adequacy of internal accounting and administrative controls have the independence and objectivity needed to improve internal controls and protect the public's interests. AB 117 directs the department to identify strategies, including staffing, reporting and chain-of-command provisions, training and use of best practices, to ensure that administrative controls are appropriate and reliable and periodic monitoring results in enhancements to those controls when and where warranted. Assembly Actions Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review13-0 Assembly Appropriations 17-0 Assembly Floor 76-0 Support and Opposition (6/27/13) Support : State Controller John Chiang. Opposition : Unknown.