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Relating to certain purchasing methods by state agencies and local governments.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1161 would amend certain sections in Chapter 2157 (Purchasing: Purchasing of Automated Information Systems) and Chapter 2155 (Purchasing: General Rules and Procedures) of the Government Code.
A new subsection in Chapter 2157 would require a state agency to purchase an automated information system (AIS) from the list of commodity items that are provided by the Department of Information Resources (DIR). From that list, an agency would have to make competitive pricing requests for purchases of more than $50,000.
A commodity item is any commercial software, hardware, or technology service that is available to the public but is also used by different state agencies. Under current law, DIR is required to maintain a list of commodity items that are available for purchase through it. The list generally offers lower prices than what is offered to other state agencies.
Finally, DIR in conjunction with state agencies would be responsible for monitoring and verifying transaction reports submitted by vendors.
According to the author’s statement of intent, current law requires all state agencies to purchase commodities from a list of procured contracts by the DIR. Once the agencies purchase commodities from the DIR list they are absolved from having to conduct a competitive bid process because it is assumed that the DIR has done its due diligence in obtaining the lowest possible price.
However, audit reports have shown that these agencies are actually not always receiving the best value. Moreover, the author’s statement contends that the reason these agencies are not receiving the best value is that they lack any oversight.
SB 1161 would require state agencies to make an additional effort to acquire the best value for their purchases by requesting competitive bids from vendors that are already approved on the DIR commodities list. Additionally, this legislation requires DIR and state agencies to monitor those transactions.
We support SB 1161 because it is within the proper role of government to ensure that the taxpayers’ money is spent judiciously. The competitive bidding process and extra oversight are critical to achieving that standard in addition to maintaining the personal responsibility of those government entities. When an agency is receiving the best possible value for its money, the taxpayer is receiving the best possible value too.