Abbott orders changes after $110M no-bid contract scandal

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is ordering stricter rules for state contracts with private companies even before the new protocols become law.

The directive Wednesday comes on the heels of a criminal investigation into $110 million in no-bid contracts awarded to an Austin tech company hired to help Texas root out Medicaid fraud.

That contract was canceled and several high-ranking officials with the state Health and Human Services Commission have resigned.

Abbott told state agency leaders in a letter that they "must" begin implementing proposed contract reforms immediately. That includes publicly disclosing all no-bid deals.

Abbott is using a bill filed by Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson as his blueprint. The Texas Legislature convened only two weeks ago and the bill has yet to even receive a hearing.

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