BOISE, Idaho — A panel of lawmakers is looking at making changes to Idaho's only independent performance evaluations agency, possibly by having staffers focus more on legislative budgets and less on whether state programs are working properly.

The Office of Performance Evaluations does deep-dive research and auditing of state agencies and programs, looking for ways the state can fix any problems and become more efficient. Often the reports have uncovered big issues, such as increasing delays in the parole process, rapidly growing caseloads for child welfare workers and problems with the monitoring of state contracts worth millions of dollars.

Rep. Wendy Horman, the House vice-chair of the legislative budget-writing committee, said her committee needs more staffers available to quickly research and answer questions about the impact of state budgeting decisions. But House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding said the right solution would be to add more resources to the budget-writing committee, not to cannibalize another office.

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