Bill sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal would give legislators more say on contracts to privatize government services _lowres

Associated Press Photo by MELINDA DESLATTE -- Louisiana representatives from left to right, Jay Morris, R-Monroe; Kenny Havard, R-Jackson; John Bel Edwards, D-Amite; and Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette talk in the House about the ongoing budget negotiations Sunday.

With little discussion, the Louisiana House agreed Tuesday that legislators should have a greater say in the contracts the governor’s administration enter to privatize government services.

Rep. Kenny Havard, R-Jackson and sponsor of the legislation during the past three sessions, said the amendments added by the Senate were minor.

The House voted 86-0 on House Bill 137, which has received little opposition from legislators. HB137 now goes to the governor’s desk.

HB137 would require that agreements with the private sector — valued at more than $5 million — that would take over tasks being done by government would first have to go through the competitive bidding process; require the legislative auditor to analyze the costs, including the so-called “legacy” expenses, such as insurance and pensions of state employees; and require legislative oversight of the contract. The bill also would require the records related to the privatization contract be available under the state’s public records law.

The Legislative Fiscal Office reports, for context, that the state has 44 contracts valued at more than $5 million. HB137 would not apply to existing contracts.

Jindal’s Division of Administration estimates the cost of hiring a consultant to complete the required analysis on the privatization bid would be approximately $300,000 per study, according to the fiscal note. But the Legislative Fiscal Office reported its belief that the analysis could be completed by current state employees.

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