- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The House has approved a bill aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in state contracts, following a $110 million no-bid state contract scandal.

The lower chamber voted 143-0 on Tuesday to pass a measure that the Senate approved unanimously in March.

Sponsored by Flower Mound Republican Sen. Jane Nelson, it requires more reporting on contracts, including forcing agencies to disclose and justify any no-bid agreements.

Gov. Greg Abbott has called for better contract safeguards, and is expected to sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk.

Clamor for tighter rules comes in the wake of the Health and Human Services Commission awarding a lucrative 2014 contract to the Austin-based tech company 21 CT outside the normal bidding process.

Several top state officials have resigned over the 21CT deal.

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