House Bill No. 64

Introduced By ewer

By Request of the Department of Commerce

A Bill for an Act entitled: An Act eliminating the requirement for an audit of a local government entity receiving federal financial assistance in excess of $25,000; amending section 2-7-503, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date and a retroactive applicability date.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 2-7-503, MCA, is amended to read:

"2-7-503.   Financial reports and audits of local government entities -- exception. (1) The governing body or managing or executive officer of a local government entity, other than a school district or associated cooperative, shall ensure that a financial report is made every year. A school district or associated cooperative shall comply with the provisions of 20-9-213. The financial report must cover the preceding fiscal year, be in a form prescribed by the department, and be completed within 4 months of the end of the reporting period. The local government entity shall submit the financial report to the department for review.

(2)  The department shall prescribe a uniform reporting system for all local government entities subject to financial reporting requirements, other than school districts. The superintendent of public instruction shall prescribe the reporting requirements for school districts.

(3)  (a)  The governing body or managing or executive officer of each local government entity receiving revenue or financial assistance in the period covered by the financial report in excess of $200,000 or federal financial assistance in excess of $25,000 shall cause an audit to be made at least every 2 years. The audit must cover the entity's preceding 2 fiscal years. The audit must commence within 9 months from the close of the last fiscal year of the audit period. The audit must be completed and submitted to the department for review within 1 year from the close of the last fiscal year covered by the audit.

(b)  The governing body or managing or executive officer of a local government entity that does not meet the criteria established in subsection (3)(a) shall at least once every 4 years, if directed by the department, or, in the case of a school district, if directed by the department at the request of the superintendent of public instruction, cause a financial review, as defined by department rule, to be conducted of the financial statements of the entity for the preceding fiscal year.

(4)  An audit conducted in accordance with this part is in lieu of any financial or financial and compliance audit of an individual financial assistance program that a local government is required to conduct under any other state or federal law or regulation. If an audit conducted pursuant to this part provides a state agency with the information that it requires to carry out its responsibilities under state or federal law or regulation, the state agency shall rely upon and use that information to plan and conduct its own audits or reviews in order to avoid a duplication of effort.

(5)  In addition to the audits required by this section, the department may at any time conduct or contract for a special audit or review of the affairs of any local government entity referred to in this part. The special audit or review must, to the extent practicable, build upon audits performed pursuant to this part.

(6)  The fee for the special audit or review must be a charge based upon the costs incurred by the department in relation to the special audit or review. The audit fee must be paid by the local government entity to the state treasurer and must be deposited in the enterprise fund to the credit of the department.

(7)  Subsections (1) through (3) do not apply to a local government entity that has adopted the alternative accounting method provided for in Title 7, chapter 6, part 6."

Section 2.  Retroactive applicability. [This act] applies retroactively, within the meaning of 1-2-109, to audits of local government entities for fiscal years beginning after June 30, 1996.

Section 3.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.