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AB-1233 Transportation Inspector General.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 02/17/2017 09:00 PM
AB1233:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1233


Introduced by Assembly Member Cunningham

February 17, 2017


An act to add Part 5.1 (commencing with Section 14460) to Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, relating to transportation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1233, as introduced, Cunningham. Transportation Inspector General.
Existing law creates various state agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the High-Speed Rail Authority, with specified powers and duties. Existing law provides for the allocation of state transportation funds to various transportation purposes.
This bill would create the Office of the Transportation Inspector General in state government, as an independent office that would not be a subdivision of any other government entity, to ensure that the above-referenced state agencies and all other state agencies expending state transportation funds are operating efficiently, effectively, and in compliance with federal and state laws. The bill would require the Governor to appoint the Transportation Inspector General for a 6-year term, from a list of 3 qualified individuals nominated by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, in consultation with specified legislative committees, by a vote of a majority of the committee membership from each house of the Legislature. The bill would prohibit the Transportation Inspector General from being removed from office during the term except for good cause. The bill would specify the duties and responsibilities of the Transportation Inspector General, and, in connection with those duties, would authorize the Transportation Inspector General to access and examine certain records, accounts, and other property. The bill would grant the Transportation Inspector General access to the records and property of a public or private entity or person subject to review or regulation by the state agency being investigated or audited to the same extent that the employees or officers of the agency have access. The bill would require the Transportation Inspector General to submit an annual report to the Legislature and Governor.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Part 5.1 (commencing with Section 14460) is added to Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:

PART 5.1. OFFICE OF THE TRANSPORTATION INSPECTOR GENERAL

14460.
 (a) There is hereby created in state government the independent Office of the Transportation Inspector General, which shall not be a subdivision of any other governmental entity, to ensure that the Department of Transportation, the High-Speed Rail Authority, and all other state agencies expending state transportation funds are operating efficiently, effectively, and in compliance with applicable federal and state laws.
(b) The Governor shall appoint the Transportation Inspector General from a list of three qualified individuals nominated by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, in consultation with the Assembly Committee on Transportation and the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing, by a vote of at least a majority of the committee membership from each house of the Legislature. The term of any individual appointed as the Transportation Inspector General shall be six years. The Transportation Inspector General shall not be removed from office during that term, except for good cause. A finding of good cause may include substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct, or conviction of a crime. The reasons for removal of the Transportation Inspector General shall be stated in writing and shall include the basis for removal. The writing shall be sent to the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the Assembly at the time of the removal and shall be deemed to be a public document.

14461.
 The Transportation Inspector General shall review policies, practices, and procedures and conduct audits and investigations of activities involving state transportation funds in consultation with all affected state agencies. Specifically, the Transportation Inspector General’s duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(a) To examine the operating practices of all state agencies expending state transportation funds to identify fraud and waste, opportunities for efficiencies, and opportunities to improve the data used to determine appropriate project resource allocations.
(b) To identify best practices in the delivery of transportation projects and develop policies or recommend proposed legislation enabling state agencies to adopt these practices when practicable.
(c) To provide objective analysis of and, when possible, offer solutions to concerns raised by the public or generated within agencies involving the state’s transportation infrastructure and project delivery methods.
(d) To conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations relating to the programs and operations of all state transportation agencies with state-funded transportation projects.
(e) To recommend policies promoting economy and efficiency in the administration of programs and operations of all state agencies with state-funded transportation projects.
(f) To ensure that the Secretary of Transportation and the Legislature are fully and currently informed concerning fraud or other serious abuses or deficiencies relating to the expenditure of funds or administration of programs and operations.

14462.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Transportation Inspector General during regular business hours shall have access to and authority to examine and reproduce any and all books, accounts, reports, vouchers, correspondence files, and all other records, bank accounts, and money or other property, of the Department of Transportation, the High-Speed Rail Authority, or any agency of the state expending state transportation funds for any audit or investigation conducted pursuant to this part. Any officer or employee of any agency or entity having these records or property in his or her possession, under his or her control, or otherwise having access to them, shall permit access to, and examination and reproduction thereof, upon the request of the Transportation Inspector General or his or her authorized representative.
(b) For the purposes of access to and examination and reproduction of the records and property described in subdivision (a), an authorized representative of the Transportation Inspector General is an employee or officer of the state agency involved and is subject to any limitations on release of the information as may apply to an employee or officer of the state agency. For the purpose of conducting any audit or investigation pursuant to this part, the Transportation Inspector General or his or her authorized representative shall have access to the records and property of any public or private entity or person subject to review or regulation by the state agency being audited or investigated to the same extent that employees or officers of the state agency have access. No provision of law providing for the confidentiality of any records or property shall prevent disclosure pursuant to subdivision (a), unless the provision specifically refers to and precludes access and examination and reproduction pursuant to subdivision (a). Providing confidential information to the Transportation Inspector General pursuant to this section, including, but not limited to, confidential information that is subject to a privilege, shall not constitute a waiver of that privilege.
(c) For purposes of this section, “confidentiality of records or property” means that the record or property may lawfully be kept confidential as a result of a statutory or common law privilege or any other provision of law.

14463.
 In connection with duties authorized pursuant to this part, the Office of the Transportation Inspector General may administer oaths.

14464.
 The Transportation Inspector General shall report at least annually to the Governor and Legislature with a summary of his or her findings, investigations, and audits. The summary shall be posted on the Transportation Inspector General’s Internet Web site and shall otherwise be made available to the public upon its release to the Governor and Legislature. The summary shall include, but need not be limited to, significant problems discovered by the Transportation Inspector General and whether recommendations of the Transportation Inspector General relative to investigations and audits have been implemented by the affected agencies. The report shall be submitted to the Legislature in compliance with Section 9795.