A spokesman for House Speaker Joe Straus on Thursday said the House will propose “a budget in January that requires much more stringent reporting on contracts by state agencies and institutions.” Jason Embry sent the statement in response to inquiries about how the lawmakers might respond to the revelation that state health officials awarded no-bid contracts to 21CT, an Austin data analytics company whose $110 million deal with the Health and Human Services Commission has been the subject of an ongoing Austin American-Statesman investigation.
“Speaker Straus also expects that relevant House committees will investigate this contract and recommend legislative changes,” Embry added.
State Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat, on Thursday afternoon sent a letter [download here – 12182014 letter-21CT-Travis-County-DA] at the Travis County District Attorney’s office requesting an investigation into “transactions between the Department of Family and Protective Services” and 21CT while a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry said he “expects the leadership of any state agency to quickly and thoroughly review any allegations of mismanagement and take the appropriate action.”
Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, chair of the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee, also said he wants to hear from Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek – and see the findings of an internal investigation – before any outside probes are launched.