SB 568 Establishes the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and creates a state false claims act
Sponsor: Rupp
LR Number: 2262S.01I Fiscal Note: 2262-01
Committee: Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight
Last Action: 3/26/2009 - Hearing Conducted S Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee Journal Page:
Title: Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2009

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Current Bill Summary

SB 568 - This act establishes the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board within the office of administration to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse of the funds received by the state or any political subdivision from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The board will consist of the Commissioner of the Office of Administration, two members of the Senate, and two members of the House. This board will have the power to oversee the reporting of contracts and grants using covered funds, whether competition requirements applicable to contracts and grants have been satisfied, audit covered funds, and refer matters for investigation to the Attorney General or the agency dispersing the funds. The board is required to report annually to the governor and general assembly. The board also has the power to subpoena witnesses.

The act also adopts provisions regarding the filing of fraudulent claims for payment with the government. Under these provisions anyone who files false claims with the government, or any public employee or official who commits certain prohibited acts or violates certain criminal statutes, will in most cases be subject to civil penalties of not less than $10,000 plus three times the amount of damages to the government. With some exceptions, private person can file a lawsuit on behalf of the government. The Attorney General has the authority to intervene and continue the lawsuit, or may allow the private person to continue with the lawsuit. The government may dismiss the action or settle the action, after a hearing before the court. The court may limit the participation of the private person in the lawsuit if the government shows that it would interfere with their civil case or may postpone discovery in the case if it would interfere with a criminal prosecution or other government civil case.

The private person who brings the lawsuit will get a percentage of the money awarded in the lawsuit. If the private person who brought the lawsuit planned or initiated the violation of state law their recovery is reduced. If the private person who brought the lawsuit is criminally convicted based on their role in the violation of state law, they cannot recover any money.

Employees who are discriminated against in the terms and conditions of their employment because of participating in a false claims case are entitled to file a lawsuit to be reinstated to their job, two times the amount of back pay, interest, special damages, litigation costs, and attorneys' fees.

Provisions of this act are similar to SCS/HB 544 (2009) and HB 940 (2009).