New House panel to review state service

House Speaker Kurt Daudt announced a select committee to look at ways to improve government interactions with the public. Tim Pugmire | MPR News

Minnesota House Republicans are launching a long-range study of ways to improve how state government agencies interact with the public.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt announced Wednesday the formation of a Select Committee On Technology and Responsive Government. Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, will chair the 10-member committee.

The goals of the panel are to improve customer service and to make government systems more effective and efficient, Daudt, R-Zimmerman, said during a news conference.

“When you can do anything that you want on your smartphone, people demand an easier, better way of interacting with everything in their life, from getting a cup of coffee to ordering their lunch to an Uber to getting a driver’s license or paying their taxes.”

Daudt said he also wants to improve the way state agencies interact with county government offices on various transactions. He said the panel will eventually make recommendations to House budget committees, but not necessarily this session.

Daudt predicted that over time, the improvements will save the state money. He said the effort will “potentially” require some money to start, but he did not say how much.

The initiative is not intended to be critical of past efforts to improve government, Daudt said, but he then criticized Gov. Mark Dayton for not spearheading a similar effort during the past six years.

“I think that’s a missed opportunity,” he said.

Dayton’s staff responded with a long list of accomplishments. They highlighted the governor’s initiatives to eliminate outdated laws, streamline permit applications and consolidate state information technology functions.

Dayton, they noted, is also seeking funding this session for significant upgrades in IT infrastructure.