HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today approved legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny), to bring accountability to emergency procurement done by Commonwealth agencies.
“If the pandemic has shown us anything, we need to be ready at a moment’s notice to address emergencies,” Ortitay said. “However, after conducting a series of hearings last year, we discovered emergency procurement is being used more frequently and with less scrutiny than necessary. Emergency procurement should only be used in the most urgent circumstances. This legislation will bring needed reforms that safeguard taxpayer money.”
House Bill 2159
would establish a new emergency procurement process. Among the changes:
Requires the Department of General Services (DGS) to receive a written request from the head of a Commonwealth agency or a single designated deputy before making an emergency procurement.
Allows an emergency procurement if there is a threat to the safety, health or welfare of the Commonwealth or there exists circumstances outside the control of the purchasing agency that threatens substantial harm to the operations of the Commonwealth. In addition, the threat or circumstances do not permit an alternate competitive method.
Requires the head of the purchasing agency to solicit at least two quotes unless he or she determines in writing that it is impractical due to the circumstances of the emergency.
Requires the head of the purchasing agency to state in writing the basis of the emergency, if the purchase was related to a disaster emergency declaration, how the emergency creates an urgent need for the purchase, the basis for the selected contractor, quotes for the procurement and the approved invoice.
“The issue of emergency procurement and the processes used came to my attention after the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) made some questionable decisions,” Ortitay said. “While it is important to act quickly in an emergency, we need to make good choices.”
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.
Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives