Utah lawmaker unveils new bill to rein in emergency no-bid state contracts

in Government

After months of questions about controversial state contracts made outside of the normal bidding process in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, a legislative panel gave its early stamp of approval Tuesday to a new bill designed to promote more transparency and accountability in emergency state purchases.

Under the proposal, procurement officials would be required to make certain information publicly available within two weeks of an emergency purchase, including copies of each written contract and the name of the highest ranking government official who approved it — something that has proved elusive at times in Utah’s flurry of no-bid contracts.

The bill also seeks to set an end date for contracts entered into outside of normal purchasing processes. No-bid agreements related to a natural disaster — including an explosion, fire, flood, storm, tornado or windstorm — could last no longer than 60 days under the proposed legislation, while all other emergency procurements contracts, including those related to a pandemic, could last no longer than 30 days.

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