Senate Bill 105 would expand public access to state spending records
The Senate yesterday approved a measure introduced by Senator Pat Browne (R-16) to expand the public’s access to state spending records.
Senate Bill 105, introduced by Senator Browne, is also known as the Pennsylvania Web Accountability and Transparency (PennWatch) Act. It would direct the Independent Fiscal office to create and maintain a searchable, database-driven budget website that the public can access by the end of 2012.
“My proposal is a follow-up to government reform measures already approved by the General Assembly and the rules adopted by the Senate. We have taken major steps to improve the way we disclose information to the residents of the Commonwealth,” Senator Browne said. “I believe the searchable database created by this legislation will provide transparency to state spending and is another important and essential move in our efforts to increase accountability in state government.”
Under the provisions of SB 105, the “PennWatch” website will provide annual appropriation information and funding actions or expenditure information for all Commonwealth agencies. The website will identify vendors, the amount of funds they received, and the state agency initiating the funding actions or expenditure.
The legislation also requires:
- PennWatch to show unrestricted state revenue that has been received and deposited in the General Fund and Motor License Fund for every month starting December 31, 2012.
- PennWatch to provide links to each Commonwealth agency Internet website where available by December 31, 2012.
- PennWatch to provide the total number of individuals employed by each Commonwealth agency on a monthly basis starting September 1, 2013. Requires “PennWatch” show the name, position title and annualized salary of each individual employed by each Commonwealth agency.