Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation July 19 modernizing and updating some state government operations affecting procurement, digital initiatives, and the small and minority business set-aside program.
The governor signed Public Act 21-76 at New Canaan-based Grace Farms, which played a key role during the pandemic by partnering with the state to supply personal protective equipment to healthcare facilities throughout Connecticut.
The new law reflects some of the lessons learned from that experience and others that aim to reduce contracting paperwork and procurement requirements.
Lamont said “particularly over this last year and a half as we’ve dealt with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen how business relationships and operational processes can mean the world to residents in numerous ways, whether it be through public health initiatives, housing and employment needs, or any number of other issues.“
Lamont also said the new law will support the administration's preparations for the wave of state employee retirements anticipated in 2022.
The bill makes a number of changes that will cut red tape and bureaucratic obstacles that traditionally have made it difficult for the state to efficiently conduct business with the private sector.
For example, the bill:
- Expands reverse auction authority to include services other than construction or construction-related services.
- Expands the types of eligible businesses and products eligible for pre-market testing. Under existing law, businesses that are funded by Connecticut Innovations can have technologies, products, and processes pre-market tested by state agencies. The bill extends testing eligibility to small and minority business enterprises certified under the state’s set-aside program and removes the restrictive requirement that such technology is manufactured or produced in Connecticut, and now requires that it solely have a positive impact on the state’s economy.
- Allows state and quasi-public agencies to conduct business transactions online.
- Eliminates numerous reporting requirements from state agencies to the Department of Administrative Services.
Josh Geballe, DAS commissioner and the state's chief operating officer, said the legislation reflected the administration's commitment to eliminate "outdated processes that have built barriers between government and business."
“These commonsense changes are just part of our broader efforts to modernize state government in ways that residents and businesses expect so they can spend their valuable time growing businesses, supporting their communities, and spending time with their families,” he said.
CBIA's Wyatt Bosworth acknowledged the positive effect the law will have on public-private partnerships in the future.
"Streamlining and modernizing state government operations, services, and processes improves Connecticut’s business climate, making it easier to do business with the state while enhancing taxpayer return on investment,” he said.
The bill was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support in the state House and passed the Senate unanimously.