A bill establishing an "Olympic Czar" to keep an eye on organizers of the 2002 Winter Games was endorsed by the House Business, Labor and Economic Development Committee.

HB157, sponsored by Rep. Kurt Oscarson, D-Sandy, would require the privately funded Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee to open its books to a designated state official.Originally the bill called for the creation of the state Office of State Olympic Coordination, but Oscarson said he was amending it to give the duties to an as-yet-unnamed state employee.

That way, the bill does not require a legislative appropriation.

Oscarson said the employee's main responsibility will be to coordinate services provided by the state to the Winter Games, making sure that taxpayers get a fair price.

"It will hopefully save the state money when agencies are asked to provide a service," he said, citing security as an example.

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The bill is now before the full House.

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