Bill to cut consulting contracts passes Senate Finance Committee
BATON ROUGE - After years of killing a bill aimed at cutting state consulting contracts, the Senate Finance Committee reversed course Monday, instead rewriting and passing the House-backed proposal.
Rep. Jerome "Dee" Richard sought to force a 10 percent cut on agencies' spending on consulting and professional services contracts, and the idea (House Bill 142) was passed by the House unanimously despite opposition from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.
Under the revamped version, most consulting and professional services contracts with a price tag topping $40,000 would need to get approval from the Legislature's joint budget committee before they could begin. If savings are generated by the committee's rejection or reworking of a contract, the savings could be directed to higher education.
Richard, I-Thibodaux, preferred his original idea, but said he was agreeing to compromise "to get this thing passed" after years of stalemate with senators.
"This will bring some transparency to the contracting process. I think we will see some savings," said Treasurer John Kennedy, who has pushed the idea for years with Richard.
The oversight provisions of the bill would expire in 2017, unless lawmakers choose to renew them. The rewritten proposal moves next to the full Senate for consideration.
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