FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Governor Asa Hutchinson Signs Efficiencies Bills into Law
War Memorial Stadium Commission to Move Under Parks and Tourism
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today signed into law his legislative package on government efficiencies. This legislation aligns the missions of the War Memorial Stadium (WMS) Commission, the Arkansas Energy Office (AEO), and the Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) with their respective parent agencies. Additional details on each merger are below.
Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement:
“These realignment and cost-savings efforts continue my focus on making state government more efficient for the citizens of our state. We’ve already seen significant benefits and savings from the agency consolidations of 2015, and I am confident we will achieve even greater savings as we continue to streamline services and responsibly utilize taxpayer dollars.
“As our state takes part in the development and usage of new technologies within government, we need to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of agency operations and services. As governor, I will continue working to ensure that we are consistently seeking out better, more efficient ways of serving the people of Arkansas through innovation and common-sense approaches.”
Kane Webb, Director of Arkansas Parks and Tourism, issued the following statement regarding the War Memorial Stadium Commission’s move to Parks and Tourism:
“War Memorial Stadium is an Arkansas cultural treasure. First and foremost, it is a monument and memorial to our veterans—indeed, the largest war memorial in the state. Secondly, it holds unforgettable memories for Arkansans of all ages, whether it’s from watching college football games or high school championships or attending a concert. Magic happens in War Memorial. We at ADPT are excited about the challenge and privilege of being a part of the stadium’s future, and we can't wait to get to work.”
Becky Keogh, Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, issued the following statement on the Arkansas Energy Office’s move to ADEQ:
“ADEQ is excited to be a part of Governor Hutchinson’s focus on identifying efficiency opportunities and effective energy policies for Arkansas. The synergy created by aligning AEO with ADEQ will be beneficial for environmental and energy-valued projects. We look forward to AEO joining us and continuing our advancement of value added services to Arkansas businesses and citizens.”
Dr. Nate Smith, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health, issued the following statement regarding the Office of Health Information Technology’s move to ADH:
“The Arkansas Department of Health supports this transition of the Office of Health Information Technology. ADH manages other state health care information systems through programs like the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Immunization Registry, and Cancer Registry. This move will further ensure continuity across programs and that health care providers and public health professionals can access and exchange real-time patient information in accordance with all state and federal privacy and security rules.”
The bill includes transferring the WMS Commission to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT), transferring the Arkansas Energy Office from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and merging the OHIT into the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).
WMS Commission to ADPT:
Transferring the WMS Commission to ADPT will help secure the viability and sustainability of the stadium. Under ADPT, War Memorial will have greater access to resources and marketing opportunities that will support the cultural and economic importance of WMS in Little Rock. This move will also provide funding for a nationally recognized stadium consultant study to evaluate War Memorial and make recommendations for the future.
AEO to ADEQ:
Transferring AEO from AEDC to ADEQ will better align state agencies managing the Volkswagen settlement funds ($13.7 million), which will go toward improving the air quality, alternative fuel, and energy infrastructure in Arkansas. The move will also create better synergy between our state’s energy and environmental offices, allowing both departments to increase responsiveness and implementation of existing energy efficiency programs.
OHIT to ADH:
Moving OHIT, which had previously been a stand-alone agency, to ADH will provide OHIT with greater administrative and operational support for the sharing of resources at lower costs to taxpayers. OHIT is currently responsible for the State Health Alliance for Records Exchange program, which requires extensive knowledge of public health information and billing that will be a natural fit with the expertise of ADH leadership and staff.
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