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About the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee

Joint Legislative Auditing Committee

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The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (Committee) is established by Joint Rules of the Florida Legislature and its membership consists of between five and seven members appointed from each house.¹ The Senate Alternating Chair serves as the Committee's Chair from the Organizational Session in November of even-numbered years until noon on December 1st of the following calendar year. The House Alternating Chair serves from the completion of the Senate Chair's term until the next general election. [see Joint Rule 4.1 - Standing Joint Committees]

In general, the responsibilities of the Committee are broad and affect all areas of government in Florida. The Committee's responsibilities are designed to provide continuous oversight of government operations, in part, through the auditing and review activities of the Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA).


¹The Committee had been created in law since 1967. During 2011, the Legislature passed a reform package which included revisions to laws and joint rules related to the Committee. Chapter 2011-34, Laws of Florida, repealed the statutory creation of the Committee.


 

Committee Oversight of the Office of the Auditor General and OPPAGA

The Committee may direct the Auditor General or OPPAGA to conduct an audit, review, or examination of any entity or record as specified in s. 11.45(3), F.S. This includes state agencies, counties, municipalities, special districts, district school boards, charter schools, and numerous other government organizations. This also includes nongovernmental agencies, corporations, and persons that have received any appropriation made by the Legislature.

The Committee is responsible for appointing the Auditor General pursuant to s. 11.42(2), F.S., when there is a vacancy in the position. The appointment is required to be confirmed by both houses of the Legislature. The current Auditor General, Sherrill Norman, was appointed by the Committee and confirmed by the Legislature during the 2015 Legislative Session. She began serving on July 1, 2015. 

Committee Hearings

The Committee is authorized to investigate any matter within the scope of an audit, review, or examination, granted subpoena power in connection with such investigations, and may conduct hearings as necessary. In addition to hearings before the full Committee, staff of the Committee work with individual members of the Committee and auditees to follow up on critical audits.

Financial Reporting Enforcement; Section 218.32, F.S. and Section 218.39, F.S.

The Committee has the authority to enforce certain provisions of law against a local governmental entity, district school board, charter school, or charter technical career center for failure to submit certain financial reports required by law. When the Committee is notified that an entity has failed to comply with the financial reporting requirements, the Committee may schedule a hearing and shall determine if the entity should be subject to further state action (s. 11.40(2), F.S.). For more information see the Committee’s webpage on local government financial reporting or the webpage on educational (district school board, charter school, and charter technical career center) financial reporting.

Entities That Fail to Correct Audit Findings; Section 11.45(7)(j), F.S. and Section 218.39(8), F.S.

The Committee has the authority to take action against educational and local governmental entities that fail to correct audit findings reported in three successive audits. The Auditor General is required to notify the Committee when a state university, Florida College System institution, school district, charter school, county, municipality, or special district has failed to correct these findings. The Committee may request a written statement from the entity to explain why corrective action has not occurred and if it is planned to provide the anticipated action and timing. If the Committee determines the statement is not sufficient, it may require an official of the entity to appear before the Committee. If the Committee is still not satisfied with the entity's effort to correct the audit finding(s), it may proceed with the provisions of s. 11.40(2), F.S. This authorizes the Committee to direct the withholding of selected state funds from certain entities and to proceed with legal action to compel compliance for special districts. For additional information, see the Committee's webpage about this initiative.

The Committee's most recent action occurred on November 30, 2015, when the members requested a written statement from many entities that had been reported to the Committee based on the Auditor General's review of 2013-14 fiscal year and late-filed 2012-13 fiscal year audit reports.

Financial Emergencies Act; Section 218.503, F.S.

Local Governmental Entities

The Committee plays a role in the oversight of local governmental entities that either have been determined to be in a state of financial emergency or have met one or more of the financial emergency conditions specified in s. 218.503(1), F.S. A local governmental entity is required to notify the Committee and the Governor’s Office when one or more of the financial emergency conditions has occurred or will occur if action is not taken to assist it. In coordination with the Governor’s Office, Committee staff monitors the financial condition of those local governmental entities that have met one or more of the financial emergency conditions and provides assistance at the discretion of the Committee or the Committee Chairs. For additional information, see the Committee's webpage regarding Financial Emergencies.

District School Boards, Charter Schools, and Charter Technical Career Centers

The Committee plays a role in the oversight of certain educational entities that either have been determined to be in a state of financial emergency or have met one or more of the financial emergency conditions specified in s. 218.503(1), F.S. A district school board, charter school, or charter technical career center is required to notify the Committee, the applicable charter school or charter technical career center sponsor, and the Commissioner of Education when one or more of the financial emergency conditions has occurred or will occur if action is not taken to assist it. In coordination with the Commissioner of Education’s Office, Committee staff monitors the financial condition of those educational entities that have met one or more of the financial emergency conditions and provides assistance at the discretion of the Committee or the Committee Chairs.For additional information, see the Committee's webpage regarding Financial Emergencies.   

Audits of Lobbying Firm Compensation Reports; Section 11.40(3), F.S.

The Committee is assigned responsibilities related to audits of lobbying firm compensation reports. All executive and legislative branch lobbying firms are required to file a quarterly compensation report; these reports are subject to an audit. The Committee’s responsibilities include: (1) adopting guidelines to govern the audits; (2) developing procedures for the selection of independent contract auditors; (3) maintaining a list of no less than 10 independent contract auditors approved to conduct the audits; and, (4) providing for a system of random selection of the lobbying firms to be audited. For additional information, see the Committee's webpage about this initiative.

Transparency Florida Website; Section 215.985, F.S.

During the 2009 Legislative Session, the Committee was assigned responsibilities related to Transparency Florida, a website that provides details of government spending of taxpayer dollars. The website includes appropriations, disbursements, trust fund balances, and additional information for all three branches of government and all state agencies. It also provides access to reports with financial information for Florida's 67 school districts. As required by law, the Committee has issued reports with recommendations related to the expansion of the information available on the website. To access the reports and for additional information, see the Committee's webpage about this initiative.

Annual Audit of the Department of the Lottery; Section 24.123, F.S.

The Committee is required to contract with an independent certified public accountant (CPA) for the annual financial audit of the Department of the Lottery. For many years the Committee issued a Request for Proposal and entered into a contract with a public accounting firm to conduct the audit. Since 2003, the Committee has directed the Auditor General and OPPAGA to conduct the annual audit. See the Auditor General’s website and OPPAGA’s website for recent reports on the Department.

Other Reporting to the Committee

In addition to the reports previously discussed, Florida law also requires a number of other reports and information to be provided to the Committee. Some of these include:

Six-Month Reports from state agencies: s. 20.055(6)(h), F.S., requires state agencies to report on the status of corrective actions taken in response to findings in Auditor General and OPPAGA reports. See recent Six-Month Reports filed with the Committee.

Revenue from Traffic Citations: s. 316.660(2), F.S., requires counties and municipalities to notify the Committee if the total revenue from traffic citations that they receive in a fiscal year exceeds 33 percent of the total expenses that they incur to operate their law enforcement agency during the same year.

Investigation of Whistle-blower Complaints: s. 112.3189, F.S., requires the Governor’s Chief Inspector General to provide the Committee with final reports of whistle-blower investigations conducted as a result of complaints by state agency employees.

Florida Patient’s Compensation Fund and Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association: s. 766.105(3)(e), F.S. and s. 766.315(5)(d), F.S., respectively, require the fund and the association to provide an annual financial audit report to the Committee.

Significant Findings and Financial Trends of Local Governmental Entities, District School Boards, Charter Schools, and Charter Technical Career Centers: s. 11.45(7)(f), F.S., requires the Auditor General to annually compile this information based on their review of audit reports submitted to his office and the audits of district school boards conducted by his office. These reports are posted on the Auditor General’s website.

Summary of most recent Report on Significant Financial Trends and Findings Identified in Local Governmental Entity Audit Reports and Annual Financial Reports  (audit reports prepared by certified public accountants (CPAs) and submitted to Auditor General)

Summary of most recent Report on Significant Financial Trends and Findings Identified in Charter School and Charter Technical Career Center Audit Reports  (audit reports prepared by CPAs and submitted to Auditor General)

Summary of most recent Report on Significant Financial Trends and Findings in Audit Reports of District School Boards  (47 audits performed by the Auditor General's Office and 20 performed by other CPAs) 

Treasury Investment Committee: s. 17.575, F.S., requires the Treasury Investment Committee to provide the Committee with an annual report outlining its activities and recommendations.

Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund: Chapter 2008-59, Laws of Florida, requires the following reports related to the State Board of Administration’s (SBA’s) Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund to be filed with the Committee:

Section of Law

Responsible Party

Action Required

s. 218.405(3), F.S.

SBA trustees

Annually certify that the Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund is in compliance with the law and that the trustees have conducted a review of the trust fund and determined that the management of the trust fund is in accord with best investment practices.

s. 218.409(6)(a), F.S.

SBA or professional money management firm

Provide a monthly report (or more frequent if a material event occurs) of material impacts on the Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund, any action taken to address such impacts, and a management summary.

s. 218.409(6)(a)1., F.S.

SBA trustees

Provide a quarterly report indicating that the trustees have reviewed and approved the monthly reports and any actions taken (see preceding item).

s. 218.409(9), F.S.

Auditor General

Conduct annual financial audit of the Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund and provide the audit report to the Committee.

s. 218.409(9), F.S.

SBA trustees

Within 30 days of the release of the annual financial audit (see preceding item), the trustees shall report to the Committee that they have reviewed the audit and certify that any necessary items are being addressed by a corrective action plan that includes target completion dates.

s. 218.409(10)(b), F.S.

Participant Local Government Advisory Council

Prepare and submit a biennial report that describes the activities and recommendations of the council.

s. 218.421(3)(a), F.S.

SBA or professional money management firm

Provide a monthly report (or more frequent if a material event occurs) of material impacts on the Fund B Surplus Funds Trust Fund, any action taken to address such impacts, and a management summary.

s. 218.421(3)(a)1., F.S.

SBA trustees

Provide a quarterly report indicating that the trustees have reviewed and approved the monthly reports and any actions taken (see preceding item).

Last updated: January 2016