The Senate voted 35-0 Friday evening to approve a bill that prohibits the governor from imposing cuts — after the state’s fiscal year is underway — on the standards board. The legislature already extends this protection to other watchdog agencies, including the Freedom of Information Commission and the Office of State Ethics. Advocates for the contracting watchdog hope that this measure — coupled with an announcement this week that roughly $450,000 would be added to the board’s budget starting July 1 — would translate into its first-ever investigative staff being hired by the fall.
Flexer, Sampson and the bipartisan group of legislators who worked on the bill approved by the Senate on Friday, originally included one other provision. This would have broadened the contracting board’s jurisdiction to include the state’s 14 other quasi-public entities, adding groups such as the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, the Capital Region Development Authority, the Connecticut Green Bank and the state’s airport authority. It also would have empowered the standards board to investigate municipal contracting practices.