Legislative committee to tackle purchasing laws

Some of Idaho’s high-profile purchasing problems have centered on education.

And on Wednesday, a legislative committee will begin digging into the state’s purchasing laws, and looking for ways to bring them up to date.

StatehouseThe Legislature’s Purchasing Laws Interim Committee will convene its first meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Idaho Statehouse, in room EW42 in the Capitol’s garden level. And not unlike a second legislative committee reviewing broadband options for schools and state offices, the purchasing committee will start with the basics. Wednesday’s agenda includes overviews of state purchasing, state purchasing laws and the legislative history on purchasing laws.

The state’s purchasing laws date back to the 1970s and are “antiquated,” according to the legislative resolution that created the interim committee. The resolution also includes a less-than-subtle reference to the botched statewide contracts for the Idaho Education Network broadband system and the Schoolnet instructional management system. “Statewide purchasing solutions may not always be in the best interests of Idaho.”

The statewide broadband system is in mothballs, after a Boise district judge declared the $60 million project contract void. State superintendent Sherri Ybarra is phasing out Schoolnet, after Idaho sank $61 million of state and private money into the flawed statewide model.

Disclosure: The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, which funds Idaho Education News, provided $19.4 million in grants for the Schoolnet project.

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