Request: Is Section 3 of Senate Bill 2004, passed by the 66th Legislative Assembly, constitutional?
Conclusion: Section 3 of Senate Bill 2004 requires the State Auditor to seek the approval of the legislative audit and fiscal review committee before performing or providing certain types of audits without clear guidelines for application. The bill diminishes the independence of the State Auditor’s office and instead entrusts an inherently executive power in the legislative branch. The ability of the executive branch to function, independent of the Legislature is a core tenet of the three-branch system of government. It is my opinion that if a court were to rule on the constitutionality of Section 3 of SB 2004, it would determine it is a violation of the separation of powers doctrine to condition the exercise of the State Auditor’s powers on the approval of a legislative committee, and, therefore, is likely unconstitutional.