The following pieces of legislation are pending in the 189th General Court (2015-2016) of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
An Act to Enhance the Work of the State Auditor (HB6)
The Office of the State Auditor is the primary entity that provides oversight and performance assessments of public entities. However, there is currently no entity able to oversee the performance of the Department of Revenue. OSA is limited in its ability to provide oversight by laws preventing access to tax return data.
HB6 would provide the OSA with access to this data to ensure that DOR is effectively doing its job of managing the state’s revenues and tax expenditures. This is an ability that 37 other states provide their auditing agency. And, the measure has stringent privacy and confidentiality measures to protect Massachusetts taxpayers.
Status of HB6: Joint Committee on Revenue
An Act Facilitating the Legislative Mandate of the Bureau of Special Investigations (HB5)
This bill would grant subpoena power to the Bureau of Special Investigations in the Office of the State Auditor in order to enforce compliance with the requirement that employers, banks, schools, and other entities provide records for an investigation of possible public benefits fraud. While compliance with BSI records requests is required, oftentimes the keepers of those records request a subpoena before providing that information. Without the authority for BSI to issue its own subpoenas, the investigations process is slowed down and, in some cases, investigations cannot be completed.
The Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) in the Office of the State Auditor is charged with investigating complaints of fraudulent claims or wrongful receipt of payments or services from the Commonwealth’s public assistance programs.
Status of HB5: Joint Committee on the Judiciary