Quinn says grant oversight bill addresses recent concerns
CHICAGO – Gov. Pat Quinn today signed landmark legislation that overhauls the state’s grant oversight and accountability process, while providing what he says is the strongest grant oversight in the nation.
The Grant Accountability and Transparency Act strengthens and streamlines requirements for state grants from all state agencies and will provide unprecedented protections for taxpayers.
“What happened with the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program was unacceptable and should never happen at any state agency,” Quinn said. “When I learned of these issues, I took responsibility by defunding the program and shutting it down, and today I am instituting the strongest reforms in the nation. This new law will make Illinois the first state in the country with a comprehensive set of uniform rules covering the entire life cycle of a grant and will make state grantees more accountable to taxpayers than ever before.”
“By passing the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act, Illinois merits congratulations for being the first state in the nation to begin aligning its existing state grant reporting and auditing requirements with the new mandatory federal regulatory reforms released last December,” Beth Bowsky of the National Council of Nonprofits said.
House Bill 2747, sponsored by state Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, and state Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, was recommended by the Illinois Single Audit Commission, which Quinn worked with legislators to create. The bill’s reforms include stronger state grant procedures to bring them all up to federal standards; improved conflict of interest disclosure requirements; and strict, real-time auditing of all state grants. The legislation also builds on a law the governor signed in 2012 that strengthened grant procedures for human service agencies.
“I applaud Governor Quinn for his leadership in reforming spending and protecting Illinois taxpayers,” Senator Kotowski said. “Signing this law shows his strong commitment to stopping people with conflicts of interests and criminal histories from getting state money. It also demonstrates his dedication to taxpayer security by ensuring that the state funds only the best performing grant recipients.”
“To better protect taxpayer dollars, I introduced this legislation to bring greater transparency and accountability to the state’s grant process,” Representative Crespo said. “It is important that we continue to make the necessary grants available to help organizations that provide vital services to our state’s residents, and to do that effectively we must spend tax dollars wisely and eliminate fraud.”
“This legislation is what I consider to be the culmination of work from other measures that targeted waste and abuse in state programs and grants,” state Sen. Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry, said. “The Grant Accountability and Transparency Act will make the grant process consistent, transparent and more efficient in terms of monitoring. I’m proud to say that it is a bipartisan measure and one that will bring more transparency to grant programs.”
“This new law puts in place common-sense federal uniform standards to ensure the accountability of taxpayer dollars in the awarding of state grants,” Rep. Patricia Bellock, R-Westmont, said. “Having worked on this issue for several years, it is gratifying to see these important reforms finally become law to protect both taxpayers and the integrity of the state’s grant process.”