P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2015
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has announced her intention to add stronger provisions against conflicts of interest in contracting management to the Sunset bill for the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), following recent allegations of contract abuse at the agency.
"At best, grave mistakes were made. At worst, laws were broken," said Senator Nelson in an op-ed for the Texas Tribune. "Either scenario is unacceptable and must be dealt with head on. Those who broke the law must be held accountable. Those who erred in judgment have no business overseeing public contracts. More importantly, the Legislature must recognize that Texans are weary of conflicts of interest in government, and we must take strong actions to eliminate them."
Last month, the Sunset Advisory Commission, which Senator Nelson chairs, adopted its report on for HHSC, to be presented to the full Legislature this session, which including re-organizing the enterprise and strengthening accountability for the Office of Inspector General, as well as more than a dozen additional recommendations specifically related to contracting.
Senator Nelson announced she will add provisions to the Sunset bill that will: establish even stronger conflict-of-interest provisions that clearly prohibit contracting with entities that have ties to agency staff; require public disclosure of all no-bid contracts as well as additional reporting on contract performance; and add new layers of review and signatures for all major contracts. She will continue to review the findings of ongoing investigations as a source for further changes to the legislation.
To read the full op-ed, please click here.