Rep. Miller has introduced HB 1158 concerning bid requirements for public works contracts. The description calls the bill “fair and open competition for public works contracts.” I consider it a red flag whenever a bill is editorializing for itself. Let the policy do the talking.
This bill provides that a governmental agency soliciting bids for public works projects can’t require a potential bidder to submit any information which the bidder considers to be confidential or proprietary. It doesn’t define confidential or proprietary and, therefore, gives the bidder way too much control over the process. What if the governmental agency wants to know if you’ve been accused of sketchy labor practices in the past, used inferior quality materials, or have a history of delayed completion? The language of this legislation seems to make it too easy for a bidder to label inconvenient information as confidential or proprietary.
The bill also says that a governmental agency can’t limit the pool of potential bidders by requiring a certain sized company, certain background experience, or union membership. In the quest for the cheapest bid, this requirement would seem to put public works projects at a greater risk of poor quality work. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
Finally, the bill dictates that a governmental agency not make union membership or contracting with labor organizations a condition of the bid. So, in this respect, it’s pretty straight forward anti-labor legislation.