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Political Landscape: Bill tough on government

June 17, 2010

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff and the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition requiring a review of government programs every five years to assess their performance and improve operations.

"For Congress to make fiscally responsible budgetary decisions, we must have transparent data about the performance and efficiency of federal agencies," Schiff (D-Burbank) said in a statement. "As a co-sponsor of the Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act of 2010, I believe it will help Congress conduct more effective oversight, make better-informed authorization and appropriation decisions, identify and eliminate duplicative programs, and enhance the performance of federal programs."

The legislation requires agencies, in conjunction with Office of Management and Budget, to identify goals to ensure government is working toward objectives with direct value. The heads of federal agencies must determine progress in meeting the established goals and the effectiveness of management.


It also requires quarterly assessment reports detailing critical information on the strengths and weaknesses of federal programs, along with agency performance improvement officers and a performance improvement council to supervise agencies' performance management activities and assist in standard development. The Government Accountability Office will evaluate whether goals are tethered to real outcomes and whether agencies are efficiently spending taxpayer dollars, along with providing recommendations.

Alcohol bill gets unanimous support

A California Senate committee this week unanimously approved a bill by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino that encourages teenage drinkers to seek emergency medical attention for suspected alcohol poisoning.

The Senate Public Safety Committee Tuesday voted 7 to 0 in favor of the bill, which Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) said would ensure young people felt comfortable dialing 9-1-1 without worrying that they might be punished.

Assembly Bill 1999 would grant immunity from criminal prosecution for underage drinkers or their friends who seek emergency medical help. The immunity would be limited to the victim and one or two underage peers if they acted in good faith, called 9-1-1 and stayed at the scene until authorities arrived.

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