Bill would put more agencies on Nebraska transparency site

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska lawmakers will consider a proposal next year that would place more agencies on the state’s spending transparency website.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg and state Sen. John McCollister announced Tuesday that they will propose legislation that would require quasi-public agencies to submit their financial records for publication. Financial information would appear on the website, www.statespending.nebraska.gov/ .

“Government transparency fosters accountability, increases public engagement and improves efficiency in government,” Stenberg said during a news conference at the Capitol.

Quasi-public agencies are generally independent and controlled by government-appointed boards to perform a public duty. Some receive state general-fund money, and many are granted the power to collect fees or issue bonds. Examples include the Nebraska State Fair Board, the Environmental Trust Board and the State Anatomical Board.

“Their decisions and budgets should be open to public scrutiny,” said McCollister, of Omaha. “Quasi-public entities are not directly accountable to the Legislature, and are often exempt from public oversight.”

The measure could affect as many as 24 agencies that are not currently a part of the state’s main accounting system, Stenberg said. The website already includes financial information of all state agencies and the University of Nebraska.

The state spending website was created through legislation passed in 2009.

Lawmakers are scheduled to convene on Jan. 6.

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