A bill which is designed to install vendor transparency measures in the state’s procurement system and fight the influence of foreign governments, including the Communist Party of China, was reported favorably out of the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee today with unanimous approval.
Senate Bill 1428, sponsored by Senator Tom Wright (R-District 14) and its companion, House Bill 1149, sponsored by Representative Scott Plakon (R-District 29) were highlighted at yesterday’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
Patronis said, “As it stands today, our state agencies and local governments who buy off our contracts don’t have a tool to identify whether companies are owned or controlled by a foreign government. If the Legislature wants any information on which country tax dollars go to, we’re too limited. My message is simple – if you receive taxpayer money, you should tell us which country you’re organized in. My accountants are asked to pay bills to vendors receiving state funds without this basic information and that’s alarming.
“This legislation will also assist the state in holding China accountable. If taxpayer dollars are used to purchase goods and services from the Communist Party of China, we have no way of knowing it. We’ve already seen reports of China’s influence in our University system and alleged theft of our intellectual property. This bill simply works to establish a clear and effective step of disclosure and provides vital transparency about who Florida conducts business with.
“Thank you to Senator Wright and Representative Plakon for sponsoring this good bill and I look forward to working together to see these measures passed this year to create more transparency in our state vendor system.”
The advancement of these bills is the latest in Patronis’ crusade to add more vendor transparency. See The Capitolist’s exclusive with the CFO on the topic here.