The full Senate has given its approval to a measure aimed at tightening the rules for using state issued purchase cards. Sen. Charlie Laster said he filed Senate Bill 831 after hearing reports of the cards being used in inappropriate ways.
“There was one state employee who reportedly used one of these purchase cards to buy a wedding cake. There were also reports of state employees using a purchase card to buy doughnuts for the staff nearly every day,” said Laster, D-Shawnee. “Those obviously are not legitimate uses of these cards. It’s an abuse of taxpayer dollars, and we need to tighten the rules so it doesn’t happen again.”
Laster said he has been working with the Office of the State Auditor and Inspector as well as the Department of Central Services to identify ways to tighten the use of state purchase cards. SB 831 sets up stronger internal controls including language to require the state agency purchasing officer to approve all transactions made by the cardholder, including food, prior to the purchase. The cardholder will also have to provide an itemized and detailed description of the purchase. In addition, the officer would be required to provide an electronic report of each transaction to the office of the State Auditor and Inspector.
“There are legitimate purposes for these cards, such as an item for the office an agency might need immediately, like a printer cartridge, for example,” Laster said. “But we know there have been some abuses. SB 831 is designed to stop such abuse.”
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives to be heard in committee.