HOUSE BILL 85
This bill requires state agencies contracting for private legal services to use a negotiated bid process to select firms if the legal services are expected to exceed $1,000,000. The bill also requires the agency to provide the fiscal committee of the general court with an opportunity to review the proposed contract.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Five
AN ACT establishing the private attorney retention sunshine act.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
21-I:22-e Title. This subdivision may be known as the private attorney retention sunshine act.
21-I:22-f Applicability. In this subdivision:
I. A contract in excess of $1,000,000 is one in which the fee paid to an attorney or group of attorneys, either in the form of a flat, hourly, or contingent fee, and their expenses, exceeds or can be reasonably expected to exceed $1,000,000.
II. A “state agency” means a state agency as defined in RSA 21-I:11, I(b), and including agencies referenced in RSA 21-I:18.
21-I:22-g Procurement. Any state agency or state agent that wishes to retain a lawyer or law firm to perform legal services on behalf of this state shall not do so until an open and competitive bidding process has been undertaken.
21-I:22-h Legislative Oversight. No state agency or state agent shall enter into a contract for legal services exceeding $1,000,000 without the opportunity for at least one hearing before the fiscal committee of the general court on the terms of the legal contract in accordance with RSA 21-I:22-i.
I. Any state agency or state agent entering into a contract for legal services in excess of $1,000,000 shall file a copy of the proposed contract with the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, who shall refer such contract to the fiscal committee of the general court.
II. Within 30 days after such referral, the fiscal committee of the general court may hold a public hearing on the proposed contract and shall issue a report to the referring state agency or agent. The report shall include any proposed changes to the proposed contract voted upon by the committee. The state agency or state agent shall review the report and adopt a final contract as deemed appropriate in view of the report and shall file its final contract with the fiscal committee.
III. If the proposed contract does not contain the changes proposed by the fiscal committee, the referring state agency or agent shall send a letter to the committee accompanying the final contract stating the reasons why such proposed changes were not adopted. Not earlier than 45 days after the filing of such letter and final contract with the fiscal committee of the general court, the state agency or agent shall enter into the final contract.
IV. If no proposed changes to the proposed contract are made to the state agency or agent within 60 days of the initial filing of the proposed contract with the speaker of the house of representatives and the senate president, the state agency or agent may enter into the contract.
V. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to expand the authority of any state agency or agent to enter into contracts where no such authority previously existed.
21-I:22-j Contingent Fees.
I. At the conclusion of any legal proceeding for which a state agency or agent retained outside counsel on a contingent fee basis, the state shall receive from counsel a statement of the hours worked on the case, expenses incurred, the aggregate fee amount, and a breakdown as to the hourly rate, based on hours worked divided into fee recovered, less expenses.
II. In no case shall the state incur fees and expenses in excess of $1,000 per hour for legal services. In cases where a disclosure submitted in accordance with paragraph I indicates an hourly rate in excess of $1,000 per hour, the fee amount shall be reduced to an amount equivalent to $1,000 per hour.
2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2006.