Privatization oversight bill deferred

Legislation designed to create more details on privatization contracts effectively died Monday afternoon in a state Senate committee.

The Jindal administration opposed House Bill 240, arguing it would curtail efforts to turn state government functions over to the private sector.

HB240’s sponsor, state Rep. Kenny Havard, told the Senate Committee on Finance that he just wants to ensure that the deals save taxpayers money.

“This is not an attempt to stop privatization,” he said. “...As a conservative, I believe in the free market principle.”

Havard, R-St. Francisville, offered legislators a four-letter word for why the proposal is needed.

“CNSI,” he said, referring to the company involved in a health care contract that the Jindal administration canceled in March after a federal grand jury subpoenaed documents related to the contract.

Legislators complained that Havard’s 12-page bill was complicated.

HB240 would, among other things, require agencies to prepare written analysis of the contract’s cost.

State Sen. Bodi White, R-Central, asked Harvard to turn the bill into a resolution in order to give legislators time to digest it.

Havard declined the suggestion.

The committee voted 8-2 in favor of deferring the legislation, effectively killing it for this session, which ends on June 6.