A board designed to commercialize some government activities is in for an overhaul.

The House on Friday passed a bill that would force the government privatization board to create an inventory of all state activities that could possibly be done better by the private sector. The bill now moves to the Senate.

HB 75 also nearly doubles the private industry's makeup of the board, with eight members to the public sector's nine.

"It creates a greater balance in the privatization board," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Craig Frank, R-Pleasant Grove.

The board has been in place for about 20 years, and has privatized some government functions like legislative printing, which has been outsourced to Xerox.

But it hasn't been as successful as some leaders had hoped.

"I don't think over the years it produced the results that we intended," said Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville. "This will perhaps put the motor in the privatization board."

Every state agency will be under scrutiny by the board.

Rep. Fred Hunsaker, R-Logan, said the bill finally gives the privatization board some real tools to work with to make decisions. Hunsaker served on the board for 15 years.

"It provides a mechanism to evaluate the differences between the private sector and the public sector, and to have an analysis that will be very beneficial in making decisions," Hunsaker said. "That is something the board did not have before."

The bill also allows the board to hire two staffers to assist with the inventory and analysis, at a cost of $127,000.

Cities and counties escaped oversight, as Frank amended his bill to exempt the local government level, as well as schools, universities and special service districts from the inventory.

Salt Lake County leaders feared that the legislation would shut down recreation centers and golf courses.

However, another bill targets the local level.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, has a similar bill in the Senate that would require counties to create an inventory of all "competitive activities" that are not a core governmental activity.

E-mail: ldethman@desnews.com