On January 25, 2017 Governor Baker filed his version of the proposed FY2018 operating budget for $40.5B, along with legislation eliminating the Department of Public Safety and creating a new office to take over some of its functions.
This recorganization bill is now H.68, an Act to reorganize the Department of Public Safety.
- The reorganization plan establishes an Office of Public Safety and Inspections to be housed within the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development's Division of Professional Licensure. The Department of Fire Services would assume the department's fire-related functions and the new office would take responsibility for all other responsibilities.
- The current Department of Public Safety falls under the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Under Baker's plan the fire services department would remain under that secretariat while the Department of Public Safety's other functions would shift to the housing and economic development secretariat.
- Governor Baker filed his plan under the authority of Article 87 of the state Constitution. Under this article, executive branch reorganizations require a legislative hearing within 30 days of filing, and must receive an up-or-down vote from the Legislature, without amendment, within 60 days or the action takes effect.
- The Department of Public Safety is a regulatory, licensing and inspection agency tasked with oversight of the state's elevator inspections, amusement ride inspections, construction-related permitting, the sanctioning of boxing and mixed martial arts events, and more.
- The reorganization "will enable the Commonwealth to consolidate licensing functions currently split across several secretariats, thereby increasing efficiencies, eliminating redundancies, and improving customer service by creating one-stop shopping for the vast majority of license approvals," Baker wrote in a letter that accompanied his bill. "It should also save the Commonwealth approximately $800,000 in FY2018."
- Baker's bill would also make technical changes to the laws governing the department, and would "change the distribution of agencies under the undersecretaries within the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to more closely align with their areas of expertise," Baker wrote.
- The Department of Public Safety has been without a permanent leader since Oct. 31, when former commissioner Matt Carlin resigned less than 18 months after taking the job.
- The House referred the governor's bill (HD 3749, which is now H.68) to the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. The public hearing on the bill is expected to be on Wednesday, February 22 from 11-1 in Room B1.