(a) The Commission on Special Investigations shall have the power, duty and responsibility, upon a majority vote of the members appointed, to:
(1) Conduct a comprehensive and detailed investigation into the purchasing practices and procedures of the state;
(2) Determine if there is reason to believe that the laws or public policy of the state in connection with purchasing practices and procedures have been violated or are inadequate;
(3) Determine if any criminal or civil statutes relating to the purchasing practices and procedures in this state are necessary to protect and control the expenditures of money by the state;
(4) Investigate or examine any matter involving conflicts of interest, bribery of state officials, malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office by any employee or officer of the state;
(5) Conduct comprehensive and detailed investigations to determine if any criminal or civil statutes have been violated at any level of state government;
(6) Determine whether to recommend criminal prosecution or civil action for any violation, either criminal or civil, at any level of state government and, if it is determined that action is necessary, to make appropriate recommendation to the Attorney General, prosecuting attorney or other authority empowered to act on such recommendation; and
(7) Make such written reports to the members of the Legislature between sessions thereof as the commission may deem advisable and on the first day of each regular session of the Legislature make an annual report to the Legislature containing the commission's findings and recommendations including in such report drafts of any proposed legislation which it deems necessary to carry such recommendations into effect.
(b) The commission is also expressly empowered and authorized to:
(1) Sit during any recess of the Senate and House of Delegates;
(2) Recommend to the judge of any circuit court that a grand jury be convened pursuant to the provisions of section fourteen, article two, chapter fifty-two of this code, to consider any matter which the commission may deem in the public interest and, in support thereof, make available to such court and such grand jury the contents of any reports, files, transcripts of hearings or other evidence pertinent thereto;
(3) Employ such legal, technical, investigative, clerical, stenographic, advisory and other personnel as it deems needed and, within the appropriation herein specified, fix reasonable compensation of such persons and firms as may be employed: Provided, That such personnel as the commission may determine shall have the authority to administer oaths and take affidavits and depositions anywhere in the state.
(4) Consult and confer with all persons and agencies, public (whether federal, state or local) and private, that have information and data pertinent to an investigation; and all state and local governmental personnel and agencies shall cooperate to the fullest extent with the commission;
(5) Call upon any department or agency of state or local government for such services, information and assistance as it may deem advisable; and
(6) Refer such matters as are appropriate to the office of the United States attorney and cooperate with such office in the disposition of matters so referred.
(c) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, specific personnel may be designated by the commission to carry a firearm in the course of performing his or her official duties: Provided, That as a precondition of being authorized to carry a concealed weapon in the course of their official duties, any such designated personnel must have first successfully completed a firearms training and certification program which is equivalent to that which is required of members of the state police. The designated persons must also possess a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in the manner prescribed in article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code.