UPDATE: HB944 was rolled one week, It is now scheduled to be heard on Jan. 31.
After a year of debate and discussion, including two summer study sessions, our contract accountability bill HB944/SB1047 is on the calendar
today Jan. 31 in the House State Government Subcommittee scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m.
During the 2017 legislative session, TSEA introduced this legislation, HB944/SB1047 sponsored by Rep. Tilman Goins and Sen. Janice Bowling, to bring oversight, legislative involvement, and transparency to the way Tennessee contracts for goods and services. While the bill did not pass in 2017, the legislature deemed the bill to have merit and sent it to this summer study for further discussion.
There were two summer study sessions on the legislation, the first of which saw thirteen state agencies testify about their department’s outsourcing and contracting needs and activity and the impact they anticipate when this legislation passes.
The most recent activity on this legislation occurred during the second and final summer study session which took place Friday, October 20. After three hours of testimony and debate, Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Briggs said, “We really would like the state to prove when we go to outsource something that it’s not a job that could be done by state employees, it’s not a job that can’t be done just as well by state employees as it can through outsourcing, and if all of those things are equal, we’re going to give the benefit of the doubt to the people that work for us already.” Briggs continued, referring to the level of service provided by state employees prior to outsourcing at higher education facilities, “I have not to this point heard any complaints about what had been going on. On the contrary, we’ve had letters of support from students, professors and people who work there, not in maintenance, that they were very pleased and happy with what has been going on. That’s where the questions come up, why do we need to fix something that’s not broken if we’re just doing it to “save money”? It shouldn’t be just a business deal.”
TSEA published recaps of both summer study sessions in our newspaper, The Co-Worker. Part 1 is included in our Sep/Oct edition and part 2 is in our Nov/Dec edition. These are available in the member’s section of our website.