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Miss. lawmakers working to change state contract process

JACKSON — The Mississippi House has passed a bill designed to bring more public scrutiny to state government contracts.

House Bill 825 on Wednesday and will move to the Senate for more work. The bill would create a new contract review board, with members appointed by the governor and lieutenant governor.

The proposed changes come in response to no-bid contracts revealed in federal corruption indictments of the former state corrections commissioner and a businessman.

Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, is the main sponsor of the bill, which he said would bring more transparency to spending of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The House passed a bill last year that would have made some changes to the state contract process, but it died in the Senate.

“Is it guaranteed that the bill is going to pass in the Senate this year?” Rep. Willie Perkins, D-Greenwood asked during the debate Wednesday.

Turner responded: “I can’t speak for the Senate.”

The Senate on Tuesday passed two bills dealing with government contracts and purchasing. Those measures, Senate Bill 2400 and Senate Bill 2553, move to the House for more work.

 

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