Wilk legislation to address what he calls ‘pay-to-play’ in state government

Sen. Scott Wilk

Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, introduced legislation in February that would prohibit a state agency from giving no-bid contracts to companies that made charitable donations on behalf of California Gov. Gavin Newsom within the preceding 12 months. 

Senate Bill 1367 comes as part of Wilk’s government accountability legislative package, according to a release from his office. The bill is an attempt to address what Wilk says is a perception of “pay-to-play.” 

“I am deeply concerned about the increasing use of massive no-bid contracts,” Wilk said in a statement. “I believe a transparent and accountable government is a good government and have introduced legislation earlier this month to require oversight hearings for their renewal and protections from whistleblowers employed under those contracts. SB 1367 is an additional step to preserve public trust in our procurement process by ensuring no-bid contracts are awarded on merit and not political connections.” 

Current law (the Political Reform Act of 1974) requires that state agencies get at least three competitive bids before awarding a contract. Additionally, agencies must report if those bids are made by companies that have given $5,000 or more on the governor’s behalf. 

Wilk wants to prevent elected officials from awarding contracts to companies that have made donations to charitable organizations supported by those elected officials. SB 1367 would do just that. 

“We need to have confidence in our government,” Wilk said. “There should be no appearance of impropriety at all.” 

Wilk will take this bill and others from his government accountability legislative package this month to the Senate Rules Committee for referral to the appropriate Senate policy committees. 

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