Monday, February 7, 2011

Bill to Encourage Use of Small Businesses

Substitute House Bill 1173 is an improvement over the original version of the bill introduced into the Washington State Legislature (see my earlier blog entry on the bill).

What is the Intent?  The substitute bill is essentially just a clean up of language from RCW 39.04.155 and doesn't appear to make any substantive changes.  The intent of the bill is probably to give public agencies an option on Limited Public Works process to restrict competition to small, micro, and mini-businesses.  But it doesn't really do that, just like the existing law doesn't really do that.

Alternative Language:  I think the intent of Section 5 might be more accurately expressed if it read as follows:  
"A state agency or authorized local government using the limited public works process of subsection (3) of this section may choose to restrict soliciting quotations or bids and awarding small works roster contracts to small businesses, minibusinesses, and/or microbusinesses that are registered contractors."
Encouraging Use of Small Businesses:  The current language of RCW 39.04.155 and the proposed substitute bill that allows agencies to adopt procedures to "encourage" smaller businesses to submit bids is curious language.  An agency always has the right to "encourage" certain firms to submit bids.  Thus, in my suggested "intent" language above, I've eliminated the "encourage" language to suggest that agencies would have the option to restrict competition on the limited public works to small businesses, minibusinesses, and/or microbusinesses.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2011 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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