P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2015
AUSTIN – The Texas Senate today approved the Conference Committee Report for SB 20 by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, which reforms state contracting practices and strengthen contract oversight across state government.
"During the Sunset process we identified contracting as a major concern that needed to be addressed at our state agencies. This legislation will make sure that state contracts are fair, transparent and accountable to taxpayers," said Senator Nelson.
The highlights of CCRSB 20 include:
- Reforms cooperative contracting by: prohibiting cooperative contracts for purchases over $1 million, requiring agencies to submit price requests to a minimum number of vendors, and requiring agencies to develop written statements of work to ensure that a cooperative contract is appropriate for a particular project;
- Requires an agency board, for any contract over $1 million, to approve the contract, the agency head to sign it, and the agency to develop reporting requirements to provide information on compliance with financial provisions, corrective action plans, and any liquidated damages;
- Requires the procurement officer, for any contract over $5 million, to verify in writing that the solicitation and purchasing methods and contractor selection process comply with state law and agency policy and submit to the board any potential issue that may arise in the solicitation or procurement;
- Prohibits conflicts of interest between agency heads and vendors;
- Requires agencies to develop risk based analysis to identify potential waste, fraud, or abuse in contracting;
- Requires agencies to post on their websites any contract non-competitively bid along with statutory justification;
- Enhances the Centralized Accounting and Payment/Personnel System (CAPPS) in the Comptroller's Office, making it a true statewide contracting database requiring the input of solicitation and contracting documents, statements of work, and other relevant contracting documents;
- Requires reporting to CAPPS justification for each contract amendment or extension that increases a contract by $10 million or 20 percent;
- Increases the scrutiny on vendor performance and consequences for bad performance in vendor debarment considerations;
- Enhances the use of the Comptroller's Vendor Performance Management System, requiring agencies to report contract performance to the Vendor Performance Management System, the Comptroller to grade the vendor's performance, and for agencies to reference the System before entering into contracts;
- Requires the Comptroller to study the feasibility and cost of centralizing contracting;
- Requires the State Auditor to focus on Health and Human Services Commission audits for $100 million plus contracts;
- Requires agencies to retain contract related documents for 7 years after the contract is completed;
- Includes institutions of higher education in contract reporting and conflict of interest provisions; and
- Requires researchers at public universities to disclose donors who contribute more than 50 percent in grants to fund a specific research project.