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Sunset Review: Department of State

William J. Metcalf, Jr., via wikimedia commons

"It is a function of the Legislature to review agencies from time to time, to determine whether they should continue or not," House and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman Mike Danahay explained Tuesday.

With 12 "sunset reviews" (as they're called) due to be completed by next July 1, the committee is getting a jumpstart on the process, beginning with the Department of State.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler testified that, aside from the money needed to cover elections, "The only part of my funding that is State General Fund anymore is museums, and we continue to try to work down our footprint."

He has transferred responsibility to local agencies for seven of the 18 museums he originally had, and adds, "I am working, as I speak, on four for further disposition."

Then there is his department's job overseeing and running elections.

"We just finished an election — if you want to call it that, at 12-and-a-half percent — but it went very smoothly," Schedler remarked, with a rueful chuckle.

He announced Louisiana will be purchasing new voting machines within the next year.

"We're getting ready to go out on an RFP (request for proposals) for new equipment. That document is at the Division (of Administration), waiting for approval."

Schedler says the new machines — basically tablets programmed solely for use as voting devices — will give voters a new option on election day.

"They would be able to technically vote in their precinct no matter where they are in the state of Louisiana. It's the same concept as we use in early voting," he said.

Chairman Danahay likes that idea.

"I think it probably would encourage voter participation, with the convenience," Danahay remarked.

"We certainly hope so," Schedler agreed. "That it's one of the benefits that comes out the other end."