Senate, House Approve PennWatch Act

House Bill 15 would expand public access to state spending records

The Senate and House have both approved a measure which is a companion to legislation (Senate Bill 105) introduced by Senator Pat Browne (R-16) to expand the public’s access to state spending records.  House Bill 15 is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

House Bill 15, introduced by Representative Jim Christiana (R-15) and also known as the Pennsylvania Web Accountability and Transparency (PennWatch) Act, would direct the Governor’s Office of Administration to create and maintain a searchable budget database-driven website that the public can access by the end of 2012.

“This 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 pending and is another important and essential move in our efforts to increase accountability in state government.”

Under the provisions of HB 15, the “PennWatch” website will provide annual appropriation information and funding action 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 action 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.

Contact:

Lesley Darrin
Senator Browne
(717) 787-1349