May 29, 2022

Senate passes Sen. DiPalma’s legislative package that reforms state purchasing processes

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State House – The Senate today passed two bills sponsored by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) that would reform the state’s purchasing policies and processes. The two bills are a result of numerous hours of work conducted by the Senate Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight Committee, which Senator DiPalma leads.

“As we have seen with recent controversial state contracts and purchases, there is a distinct need for reform of our state purchasing processes and policies. The public deserves transparency and assurances that every state contract or purchase agreement is made with the sole best-interests of Rhode Island residents in mind and these bills will provide the administrative framework to ensure that state contracts and purchases are conducted fairly, cost-effectively and without any inference or evidence of impropriety,” said Senator DiPalma.
The first bill (2022-S 2586A) would require that no request for proposal shall change to a master-price agreement unless the request for proposal is cancelled and reissued as a master price agreement. It also would provide certain criteria required of vendors, parent corporations, subsidiaries, affiliates and subcontractors of state vendors when bidding on requests for proposals.

In particular, no vendor, parent corporation, subsidiary, affiliate or subcontractor of any state vendor may bid on a request for proposal if that person or entity has or had any contractual, financial, business or beneficial interest with the state or with any official, officer or agency in charge of the request or if they participated or were consulted with respect to the requirements, technical aspects or any other part of the formation and promulgation of the request for proposals.

The second bill (2022-S 2601) passed would establish requirements with respect to requests for proposals submitted to the chief purchasing officer for review and ensure that the chief purchasing officer confirms that there are no conflicts or appearances of conflicts of interest between the interests of any individual appointed to the technical evaluation committee and the interests of the state.

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration where Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) has introduced the legislation (2022-H 8101, 2022-H 8102).

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