Sunday, January 26, 2014

More Public Contracting Bills Introduced in Washington Legislature

In addition to the bills I commented on in my previous blog from January 21, 2014, the following additional bills impacting public contracting in the State of Washington have been introduced to the Legislature:

Exempt Proposals from Public Records Disclosure:  A bill (House Bill 2578) introduced to the Washington State Legislature would exempt from public records disclosure the proposals submitted by contractors for alternative public works delivery methods (Design-Build, GC/CM, and Job Order Contracting) and related evaluation documents until after a contract is executed or the selection process is terminated. 

Expand Prevailing Wages to Public-Private Partnerships:  Substitute House Bill 1025S would create a new definition of a "subsidized public works" project and would require that prevailing wages be paid on such projects.  Similar bills have been introduced in past years, but have not been successful.  Adoption of this bill would have the impact of limiting the number of public-private partnership projects constructed.  See my previous blog on legislation introduced in earlier years. 

Expand Apprenticeship Utilization Requirements:  House Bill 2526 would establish penalties for contractors failing to comply with the apprenticeship utilization requirements of RCW 39.04.320 for public works projects of the State Department of Enterprise Services, the State Department of Transportation, institutions of higher education, and all school districts.  The bill would also significantly expand requirements for use of apprentices on all public works projects of the state and all municipalities.  Here is a summary of the provisions of this bill:
  • Debarment:  HB 2526 would add to the list of reasons for contractor debarment the failure of the contractor to comply with the apprenticeship utilization percentages required by RCW 39.04.320.
  • Bidder Responsibility:  HB 2526 would also add to the list of mandatory bidder responsibility criteria in RCW 39.04.350 the failure of the contractor to meet apprenticeship percentage utilization requirements under RCW 39.04.320.
  • State Monitoring of Compliance:  The State Department of Enterprise Services would be required to maintain on its website a list of contractors that failed to meet apprenticeship percentage utilization requirements on public works projects.
  • Bid Preference for Contractors with Apprenticeship Programs: HB 2526 would provide a 5% bid preference to be used in bid evaluation for contractors with a registered apprenticeship training program approved by the Department of Labor and Industries for trades to be used on the public works project.
  • Expand Apprenticeship Utilization Requirements for all Public Agencies: HB 2526 would require that "the bidder must be a party to an apprenticeship agreement for each trade it is employing that has a registered apprenticeship training program" if the "bidder will employ more than one trade on the public work."  This provision appears to have the impact of requiring apprentice utilization for all municipalities, and not just those agencies named in RCW 39.04.320.
Permit Electronic Public Works Bidding for State Agencies:  Substitute House Bill 1841 would permit state agencies to conduct competitive bidding for public works projects electronically or accept electronic signatures as part of the bidding process.

Permit Fire Districts to Perform Public Works Without Bidding:  House Bill 2266 would permit a fire department or regional fire authority to "use fire service personnel, either employed or volunteer, to perform" public works projects less than $20,000 without obtaining competitive bids.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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