The House Legislative Oversight Committee was formed earlier this year to systematically audit state agencies to determine if each agency operates according to state law. Each agency has been assigned to a sub-committee where testimony is heard and reports evaluated. I serve on the education subcommittee.
The whole committee met this past Wednesday to consider requests to open an unscheduled audit of those agencies who deal with Planned Parenthood. The requests included auditing any tax dollars that may go to Planned Parenthood and the disposal of fetal tissue. These agencies include DHEC, DSS and HHS. State law expressly allows the committee to approve audits not on our regularly scheduled audit rotation.
After a two hour debate, the committee voted 9 to 7 to approve the audit. The vote tally included one Democrat (a medical doctor) who abstained and one Republican who voted no. The committee has 20 members of which 12 are Republican and 8 are Democrats.
This vote was the committee’s first real relevancy test. Would we exercise our authority to conduct a proactive unscheduled agency audit in response to an individual House member’s request if we considered the request valid? Would our committee show itself to have the necessary fortitude to hold agencies accountable in real-time?
The vote was a resounding yes.
To view the debate, click here.