Governor Abbott Signs State Agency Contracting Reform Legislation
Governor Greg Abbott has signed legislation implementing key reforms to enhance reporting and increase transparency and accountability in state contracting.
“As one of my first actions upon taking office as Governor, I directed state agency heads to immediately implement critical reforms to their contracting procedures, including the disclosing of no-bid contracts, any conflicts of interest in the procurement process, and prohibiting state employees from entering into contracts with companies from which they financially benefit,” said Governor Abbott. “This legislation puts those reforms and additional accountability measures for state agencies into law. I am proud to sign this bill that ensures Texans can trust their state government to issue contracts in a fair, open and responsible manner.”
SB 20 (Nelson, R-Flower Mound; Price, R-Amarillo) includes provisions to strengthen document retention requirements, requirements for documents to be posted on agency websites, requirements for reporting contracting information to the Comptroller (CPA), requirements for reporting vendor performance to the Comptroller's tracking system, requirements for use of information in the tracking system in contract award decisions, ethics reporting requirements and disclosure of potential conflicts of interest, and creation of a centralized contract database maintained by the Comptroller.
In a letter sent to all state agency heads on January 28, 2015, Governor Abbott directed agencies to implement the following reforms as of February 1, 2015:
- Require public disclosure of all no-bid contracts and a public justification for using such a procurement method;
- Require that all agency employees involved in procurement or contract management disclose any possible conflicts of interest;
- Prohibit contracts with business entities with which high-level agency leadership or staff have a financial interest;
- Require that the agency's board chair sign any contract valued at more than $1 million or delegate signature authority to the agency head;
- For procurements of more than $5 million, require the agency's central contracting office or procurement director to sign off on the procurement method and to indicate, in writing, to the Board and agency head any potential issue that could arise in the contract solicitation.