State looks to Yellow Pages for help

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – “I personally believe, if you can find it in the Yellow Pages then it is not something that the state needs to be doing,” said Rep. Allen Icet (R-Wildwood).

House Bill 1676, called “The Competitive Government Act,” had its first public hearing April 13 before the House budget committee. Co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Yates (R-Lee’s Summit) and Icet, the bill would require all state agencies to submit to the Office of Administration every other year a list of activities performed by the agency that could be performed by the private sector.

Rep. Vicky Wilson (D-Columbia) asked whether the bill would pertain to Missouri correctional facilities.

“I know other states have used the private sector in correctional facilities,” Wilson said. “And I know we already do to a point. I just don’t know if we need to be expanding government any more than we already have.”

Both Yates and Icet said that was not their intent.

Wilson asked what requirements would be put in place for determining who would be contracted.

Yates said when determining whether to contract with the private sector, the costs of procuring the service would be compared with the full costs to the agency if their services included the costs of quality assurance, technical monitoring and all overhead costs.

Rep. Danielle Moore (R-Fulton) said she was glad the bill had been created.

“Health care in correctional facilities has been lacking in the past,” Moore said.

“Those being incarcerated have not always received adequate medical treatment.”

Yates and Icet said the reason for the poor health care was that it was difficult to staff the facilities. They said giving the job to a private sector would put individuals specifically trained in the correctional facilities.

The committee has not yet made a final decision on the bill.