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Government Relations - General Information (Public)

This Week in Surety & Fidelity LegislationOpen in a New Window

SFAA has replaced the monthly overview reports with the weekly legislative update on Surety & Fidelity legislation.  Reports are available for Members on the Weekly Legislative Reports page.

Members may sign up to receive email notifications by subscribing to the "Legislative-Regulatory Alert" group.


 

U.S. House Small Business Committee Holding Hearing on Change OrdersOpen in a New Window

  U.S. House Small Business Committee Holding Hearing on Change Orders 

The House Small Business Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the change orders provisions from the federal Construction Industry Procurement Coalition’s bill for 2017.

Representative Don Bacon (R-NE) introduced H.R. 2350, the Small Business Know-Before-You-Bid Construction Transparency Act, on May 4. The bill would require the federal contracting agencies to participate in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM) or have an agency website that contains information that all members of the construction team for any project should be able to access. Copies of all payment bonds and the date and amount of each payment made to the general contractor, and any amounts withheld, are among the information that must be posted. All the items required would be available now, and this provision will assist the overworked federal acquisition staff that currently have to respond hundreds of times to requests for this information. Regarding change orders, the bill would require the agencies to disclose upfront their practices in approving changes orders such that bidders could consider the timeliness of agency payments in preparing their bids.

Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced H.R. 2594, the Small Business Pay for Performance Act, yesterday. This bill contains the requirement from the Consensus Docs, which is in the Coalition bill. It would permit contractors to submit a request for an equitable adjustment (REA) when a federal agency issues a unilateral change order. The contractor may bill the agency for work completed under the change order while the REA is pending. Once the agency receives the REA, it must pay 50% of the billed costs immediately.

There still are some negotiations underway about addressing the change order issue. We might see a requirement in the legislation for a GAO study on the practices of the federal agencies. Also under consideration is whether the agencies should report progress on REAs under the SAM, as well as progress payments.

Colette Nelson, Chief Advocacy Officer for the American Subcontractors Association will testify tomorrow on behalf of the Coalition.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

End of Legislative Session Reports postedOpen in a New Window



End of 2017 Legislative Session reports added for Indiana, Iowa and Washington for Members only.

Previous reports posted for 2017:  Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.


Navigate to Government Relations / End of Legislative Session Reports


 

New Pennsylvania Commissioner AppointedOpen in a New Window

  New Pennsylvania Commissioner Appointed on May 23, 2017 
Members should visit Government Relations / National Association of Insurance Commissioners for more information.

 

Multiple Government Affairs updates postedOpen in a New Window

 

Indiana Increases Bond Threshold for State Educational Institutions

Indiana HB 1117 provides that contractors will not have to furnish a performance bond or a payment bond on public works contracts under $500,000 with a state educational institution if the institution agrees to waive the bond requirement.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

North Carolina Bills for Alternative School Construction Delivery Methods Starting to Move

North Carolina HB 600/SB 511 would allow local school boards enter into lease agreements with private developers for the construction of facilities.  The developer would be permitted to use both traditional procurement methods and alternative project delivery methods.  The bill provides that performance and payment bonds would be required.  In previous sessions, SFAA addressed school construction bills that contained discretionary bonding provisions.  This year, the bills were introduced with bonding requirements based on our past work in promoting bonds.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Oklahoma P3 Bills to Create “Centers of Excellence” Moving

In Oklahoma, two bills are moving that would establish a state level and a local level P3 agency.  SB 430 would create the Office of Public Private Partnerships (OP3) and a Partnership Committee for state P3 projects and HB 1534 would authorize local governments to form a Local Partnership Committee for local P3 projects.  These entities would be charged with reviewing proposals for public projects to determine if a P3 would be the best method for delivering the project.  Both bills provide that the requirements for the P3 must be in the P3 agreement, and the OP3 will develop the requirements.  Both bills specify that the agreement could include requirements for performance and payment bonds for all construction activities.  Bonds or other security also could be required for the other portions of the project.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA Fighting Bills that Reduce Consumer Protections in Motor Vehicle Dealer Bonds

In Oklahoma, two bills are moving that would establish a state level and a local level P3 agency.  SB 430 would create the Office of Public Private Partnerships (OP3) and a Partnership Committee for state P3 projects and HB 1534 would authorize local governments to form a Local Partnership Committee for local P3 projects.  These entities would be charged with reviewing proposals for public projects to determine if a P3 would be the best method for delivering the project.  Both bills provide that the requirements for the P3 must be in the P3 agreement, and the OP3 will develop the requirements.  Both bills specify that the agreement could include requirements for performance and payment bonds for all construction activities.  Bonds or other security also could be required for the other portions of the project.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA and AIA Addressing Oregon Bill Permitting Toll Projects for Port Authority

Oregon HB 2750, which would allow the Port of Hood River to conduct tollway projects within its district. The bill would allow private entities to own and operate the tollway in an agreement with the port. Except for the prevailing wage laws, the bill would exempt these projects from the existing public procurement laws for construction contracts so that the Little Miller Act would not apply. SFAA is seeking amendments to require bonding for these projects.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Louisiana P3 Bill for Regional Transportation Projects Moving with Bonding Provisions

Louisiana HB 379 would authorize the Regional Transit Authority (regional authority) to enter into contracts for public private partnerships (P3) for a transportation facility project.  These projects would be subject to the Department of Transportation's existing bonding requirements.  The bond provision is identical to a provision SFAA and AIA obtained in a new P3 law last year.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.



 

New Bonding Opportunities posted for MembersOpen in a New Window


New bonding opportunities enacted in the state legislature that may be of interest to SFAA members has been posted. The report is divided by line of business: contract surety, commercial surety, and fidelity bonds. For your reference, we have included the date of enactment for each bill. SFAA updates this list periodically as new bonding opportunities are enacted. 
Access the New Bonding Opportunities now

 

Multiple Government Affairs updates postedOpen in a New Window

Washington State Increases Bond Threshold

Washington SB 5734 increases the bond threshold from $35,000 to $150,000. Under existing law, on contracts under the bond threshold, the contractor may opt for retainage in lieu of a bond. The new law reduces the amount that can be retained in lieu of a bond from 50% to 10% of the contract amount.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

New Law in Washington State Eliminates Bonding Alternatives for Money Transmitters and Create New Bond for Currency Exchangers

Washington SB 5031 eliminates the other forms of security that a money transmitter may furnish in lieu of a surety bond so that only the bond can be posted to meet the license bond requirements in existing law. The new law also requires online currency exchangers to post a surety bond in connection with licensure. The bond amount is based on the previous year's currency exchange dollar volume.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Nevada P3 Bill Moving

Nevada SB 448 would authorize the State and local governments to enter into public-private partnerships (P3) for transportation projects and various kinds of social infrastructure projects, which would include sports stadiums for use by Major League Baseball or the National Football League. The public owner could include a requirement in the P3 agreement that the private partner obtain provide performance and payment bonds or other security. SFAA and AIA are seeking amendments to clarify the bonding requirements. The bill has passed the Senate.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Bond Threshold Increase Moving in New Hampshire

New Hampshire HB 371, as amended, would increase the bond threshold from $35,000 to $100,000. The bill passed the Senate and has been sent back to the House for concurrence.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

Multiple Government Affairs updates postedOpen in a New Window

 

Indiana Bill to Increase Bond Threshold for State Educational Institutions Sent to Governor

Indiana HB 1117 provides that contractors would not have to furnish a performance bond or a payment bond on public works contracts under $500,000 with a state educational institution if the institution agrees to waive the bond requirement. As introduced, the bill dealt only with partial release subdivision bonds, and the bill now on the Governor’s desk still contains those provisions.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.  

SFAA Addressing Little Miller Act Bills in Tennessee 

Tennessee SB 681 revises Tennessee’s Little Miller Act so that the bonds required for public construction contracts must be for a minimum of 25% of the contract price. Under prior law, the bonds had to be equal to 25% of the contract price. HB 1036/SB 884 would increase the bond threshold from $100,000 to $200,000 for contracts let by the State Building Commission for state building projects. SFAA is working to defeat the bill.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

Montana P3 Bill Amended with Exemption from Bonding and Other Procurement Laws

Montana SB 335, as originally introduced, would grant state and local governments the authority to use P3s for transportation and public facilities. The bill required that the P3 agreement contain specifications for the delivery of maintenance, performance and payment bonds, as well as letters of credit, in connection with the development or operation of a P3. The responsible public entity would determine the form and amount for the construction portion of the P3. SFAA and AIA have been seeking bonding amendments to clarify these provisions. The bill was amended in committee in the House so that bonding, prevailing wages, and many other requirements of the procurement code would not apply to P3s. The amended bill also eliminated authority for P3s for transportation projects and technology infrastructure. Although the bill got out of committee in the House, it appears that it may have died on the House floor.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Colorado Bill Addressing Contractor Qualifications Moving

Colorado SB 211 provides that if contractors required to provide a bid bond can furnish the bond in the amount required by the solicitation or otherwise required by law, the Department of Transportation (DOT) would be prohibited from eliminating the contractor from consideration of an award on the basis of any financial statement that the contractor submitted for the DOT’s contractor prequalification determination process.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Bond Threshold Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk in Washington

Washington SB 5734 would increase the bond threshold from $35,000 to $150,000. Under existing law, on contracts under the bond threshold, the contractor may opt for retainage in lieu of a bond. The bill would reduce the amount that can be retained in lieu of a bond from 50% to 10% of the contract amount. The bill has been sent to the Governor.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

States Consider Model Law on Notaries with Bonding Requirements

In 2017, some states have introduced bills this year to implement the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts from the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law (NCCUSL). The revised model now contains a provision that is optional for the states to enact that requires the notary to post a bond or its functional equivalent and leaves it to the state to decide the amount required. The model gives the state agency implementing the law the authority to determine what forms of security would be accepted through regulations. Since the 2010 revisions to the Uniform Act states have moved to incorporate the NCCUSL amendments. In a few states, this has led to a new bonding requirement. This year, however, we are seeing states reconsider and increase their bonds amounts. Bills were introduced in: Idaho (HB 125/HB 209), Indiana (SB 539), Kentucky (HB 218/HB 539), Minnesota (SB 893/HB 1609), and Washington (SB 5081).

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Oklahoma P3 Bills Moving to Create “Centers of Excellence” for State and Local Projects

In Oklahoma, two bills are moving that would establish a state level and a local level P3 agency.  SB 430 would create the Office of Public‑Private Partnerships (OP3) and a Partnership Committee for state P3 projects and HB 1534 would authorize local governments to form a Local Partnership Committee for local P3 projects.  These entities would be charged with reviewing proposals for public projects to determine if a P3 would be the best method for delivering the project.  Both bills provide that the requirements for the P3 must be in the P3 agreement, and the OP3 will develop the requirements.  Both bills specify that the agreement could include requirements for performance and payment bonds for all construction activities.  Bonds or other security also could be required for the other portions of the project. 

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

New Hampshire Bond Threshold Bill Moving with Lower Threshold Increase

New Hampshire HB 371, as amended, would increase the bond threshold from $35,000 to $100,000.  Originally, the bill would have increased the threshold to $150,000, but passed the House with an increase to $75,000.  An agreement was reached in the Senate to increase the threshold to $100,000 and remove provisions that would have permitted political subdivisions the option of applying the state bond threshold. 

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


SFAA Fighting Bills that Reduce Consumer Protections in Motor Vehicle Dealer Bonds in Oregon

SFAA and AIA are opposing bills in Oregon that would reduce consumer protection under motor vehicle dealer bonds. SB 974 would remove the cap on claims from non-retail customers and HB 2975 provides for awards of penalties attorneys’ fees. HB 3323 increases the bond amount from $40,000 to $100,000, which could reduce the bond’s availability.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA Defends Bail Bonds in the States

SFAA is opposing legislation that essentially make bail bonds the option of last resort by establishing pretrial services programs, permitting the use of unsecured personal bonds, or by permitting partial cash deposits to be posted in lieu of bail bonds. We have argued that these bills would restrict a useful tool for the State to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. We currently are addressing bills in California, Connecticut, Maine, and Texas.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.



 

Multiple Government Affairs updates postedOpen in a New Window

 

Kansas Enacts Bonding Requirements for Public-Private Partnerships

Kansas SB 55 requires contractors to provide performance and payment bonds for a public private partnership for public construction projects exceeding $100,000.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Virginia Enacts Bill Permitting Waiver of Prequalification Requirements

Virginia HB 2017 revises the law for non-transportation construction contracts that exceed $100,000 and are less than $500,000, which requires contractors to be prequalified under the existing law's standards when bonds are waived. The new law allows local governments to waive prequalification requirements in limited cases when the contract amount is more than $100,000 but less than $300,000 when bonds are waived. The waiver provisions expire on July 1, 2021.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA Opposes California Bail Bill

SFAA has submitted written testimony in opposition to California AB 42/SB 10, which would eliminate the current system for posting bail bonds and replace it with a pretrial services program in which defendants are evaluated through a risk assessment for whether they should be released prior to a trial.  If a judge or magistrate determines that pretrial release, with or without conditions, will not reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant in court, the judge or magistrate would have to set monetary bail at the least restrictive level necessary.  If the judge has required monetary bail, the defendant could post an unsecured appearance bond, a secured appearance bond, or a deposit equal to a percentage of the monetary bail amount.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Arkansas Governor Signs P3 Bill

Arkansas SB 651 authorizes the State and its agencies to enter into public-private partnerships (P3) for public building and public facility projects. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Arkansas Development Finance Authority will be required to promulgate regulations jointly to establish guidelines for P3s, including the comprehensive P3 agreement. The regulations have to include guidelines regarding bonding requirements. SFAA will address the regulations when proposed.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA Opposes Bill to Eliminate Surety Bail in Maine

SFAA has submitted written testimony in opposition to Maine HB 880, which would require the development and use of a risk assessment instrument for determining appropriate pretrial release conditions. The bill would eliminate the use of bail bonds as a condition of releasing a defendant in cases where the judicial officer has determined that personal recognizance or an unsecured bond will not ensure reasonably the defendant’s appearance.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Federal Construction Industry Procurement Reform Coalition Bill Starts in the House in 2017

The federal Construction Industry Procurement Reform Coalition (Coalition) has a bill for 2017 that contains two surety provisions. One would eliminate the indexing of the Miller Act bond threshold for inflation every five years. The other contains payment protections for subcontractors and suppliers that work under a public-private partnership (P3) on a federal project. This provision applies to P3s on land that the federal government owns, and such P3s would be subject to bonding under the federal Miller Act. It is a first step toward requiring the design and construction portion of P3s to be bonded.

Change orders in federal contracts is the key issue for the contractor groups in this year’s Coalition bill. Contractors are increasingly frustrated with the slow approval of change orders and the resulting lack of timely payment. The Coalition bill would require agencies to disclose their policy for responding to a contractor’s request for an equitable adjustment of the contract price for a unilateral change order from the agency, and in particular, to disclose if it is the agency’s policy bundle all change orders for resolution at the end of the project, which is the current practice of some federal agencies. The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) require a response for an equitable adjustment to be in “the shortest practicable time.” The Coalition bill would trigger the collection of data on the federal agency response times, as well as provide contractors with information needed to properly respond to a request for bids. The Coalition bill also contains a provision from the Consensus Docs that would require federal agencies to make an interim payment of at least 50% of the equitable adjustment requested in a unilateral change order. SFAA’s Contract Bond Advisory Committee reviewed the change order issue and agreed that anything that will shorten the approval of change orders also will benefit the sureties.

The Coalition has drafted a House and Senate version of the bill. The Senate bill contains all the provisions of the Coalition’s bill and it is geared toward making amendments to the government-wide FAR. The House version focuses on small business issues, so it is a narrower version that includes only the change order provisions. The House bill would revise the Small Business Act. Both bills are written to foster greater transparency by providing contractors with needed information about an agency’s procurement practices so that they can make better informed business decisions when bidding on government contracts.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

Legislation for Public-Private Partnerships Pending in Several StatesOpen in a New Window

Legislation for Public-Private Partnerships Pending in Several States
Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Monthly Comprehensive Legislative Reports posted for MembersOpen in a New Window

 

Comprehensive Legislative Reports for April 2017 (Commercial Surety; Contract Surety; Fidelity) posted for Members only.

Or navigate to any of the following:


 

SFAA and AIA Seeking Surety Exemption from Unfair Claims Practices LawOpen in a New Window

SFAA and AIA Seeking Surety Exemption from Unfair Claims Practices Law

SFAA and AIA have made progress on addressing bad faith claims in Colorado by obtaining an amendment to SB 204. As amended, the bill would exempt surety bonds from a provision in the Colorado unfair claims practices law that allows the courts to award reasonable attorneys’ fees, court costs, and two times the covered benefit if the insurer unreasonably delayed or denied a claim. SB 204 passed the Senate.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

Multiple Government Affairs updates postedOpen in a New Window

 

Utah Enacts New P3 Authorization

Utah SB 204 makes minimal revisions to the existing public procurement code to authorize state and local procurement units to use P3s for public works projects. SFAA believes the Little Miller Act will apply to these projects.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

New Law Changes North Dakota CM-at Risk Bond Requirements

North Dakota SB 2147 revises the existing law for public improvements delivered under a construction manager at-risk contract to prohibit a governing body from requiring each contractor performing services on the project to provide a separate bond for the contractor's portion of it. The construction manager at-risk still must post a performance and payment bond for the project as required under existing law.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

New P3 Authorization Bill Sent to Arkansas Governor

Arkansas SB 651 would authorize the State and its agencies to enter into public-private partnerships (P3) for public building and public facility projects. The bill would require the Arkansas Economic Development Commission the Arkansas Development Finance Authority to promulgate regulations jointly to establish guidelines for P3s, including the comprehensive P3 agreement. The regulations would have to include guidelines regarding bonding requirements. SFAA will address the regulations when proposed.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Montana P3 Bill Passes Senate

Montana SB 335 would authorize the State and its political subdivisions to enter into public-private partnerships (P3) for public infrastructure projects, including transportation projects. The bill sets forth the requirements for the P3 comprehensive agreement. The P3 agreement would have to include specifications for the delivery of maintenance, performance, and payment bonds, as well as letters of credit in connection with the development or operation of the qualifying project. SFAA and AIA are seeking bonding amendments.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

California Seeking to Extend P3 Authorization for DOT

California AB 1454/SB 768 would extend the authorization for the Department of Transportation and regional transportation agencies to enter into public private partnerships for transportation projects by eliminating the sunset date in the current law.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Kansas Bill to Require Bonding for P3s Sent to Governor

Kansas SB 55 would require contractors to provide performance and payment bonds for a public private partnership for public construction projects exceeding $100,000.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

Multiple Government Affairs updates postedOpen in a New Window

 

SFAA and AIA Opposing Bond Threshold Increase for Indiana Educational Institutions

SFAA and AIA are opposing Indiana HB 1117, which as amended provides that state higher educational institutions can waive payment and performance bonds on public works contracts under $500,000. As originally introduced and passed in the House, the bill dealt only with the partial release of a subdivision bond.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA Addressing Little Miller Act Bills in Tennessee

Tennessee HB 1036/SB 884 would increase the bond threshold from $100,000 to $200,000 for contracts let by the State Building Commission for state building projects. SFAA is working to defeat the bill.

Legislation also has been introduced under SB 681/HB 981 that would revise Tennessee’s Little Miller Act so that the bonds required for public construction contracts would have to be for a minimum of 25% of the contract price. Currently, the bonds must be equal to 25% of the contract price.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information. 

 

States Consider Model Law on Notaries with Bonding Requirements

In 2017, some states have introduced bills this year to implement the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts from the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law (NCCUSL). The model provides that the notary must post a bond or its functional equivalent and leaves it to the state to decide the amount required. The model gives the state agency implementing the law the authority to determine what forms of security would be accepted through regulations. Bills currently are pending in: Idaho (HB 125/HB 209), Indiana (SB 539), Kentucky (HB 218/HB 539), Minnesota (SB 893/HB 1609), and Washington (SB 5081).

 Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Little Support for Allowing Political Subdivisions in New Hampshire Opt-Out of Bond Threshold Requirements

New Hampshire HB 371 would increase the bond threshold from $35,000 to $75,000.  Originally, the bill provided for a $150,000 threshold.  The bill still would permit political subdivisions to opt out of the bonding requirements as they contend they are best qualified to decide whether bonding is needed on their projects.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Bill Changing North Dakota CM-at Risk Bond Requirements Sent to Governor

North Dakota SB 2146 increases the state bond threshold for public improvement contracts from $100,000 to $150,000. SFAA and AIA opposed the bill, but arguments to make the threshold consistent with other recently increased procurement thresholds prevailed.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Oklahoma Bill to Permit Bond Waivers for State Agencies Moving

Oklahoma SB 672 would authorize the Governor to designate a state agency as an enterprise agency for five years, which would grant the agency relief for several laws and regulations, including bonding requirements for public building projects.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Wisconsin Considering Changes to Local Public Official Bond Requirements

Two bills have been introduced in Wisconsin that would allow local governments to determine the bonding requirements for local public officials. AB 168 would allow a city’s common council and village boards to decide if bonds are required for their public officials. Insurance would be required if bonds are not. SFAA will question whether this is the best protection to have in place. AB 169 would change the bond amounts for required of town, city, or village treasurers so that the bond is equal to at least the amount of state and county taxes apportioned to the town, village, or city. Under current law, the bond must be for double this amount. The bill would repeal the provisions permitting the use of personal sureties and the associated caps on the bond amount when personal sureties are used.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Virginia Enacts New License Bond Requirement for Construction Contractors

Virginia SB 1113 requires Class A and Class B contractors to post a $50,000 license bond or provide financial statements demonstrating a minimum net worth.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

North Dakota Increases State Bond Threshold

North Dakota SB 2146 increases the state bond threshold for public improvement contracts from $100,000 to $150,000.  SFAA and AIA opposed the bill, but arguments to make the threshold consistent with other recently increased procurement thresholds prevailed.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Oklahoma Bill to Create P3 “Center of Excellence” Moving with Bonding Amendment

Oklahoma SB 430 would create the Office of Public-Private Partnerships and a Partnership Committee that would be charged with reviewing and evaluating proposals for state P3 public projects. The bill provides what the P3 agreement would have to include generally, which would include requirements for "financial assurances." The bill was further amended to provide that the P3 agreement also could include requirements for performance and payment bonds for all construction activities. Other forms of security would be accepted for the other portions of the project. SB 430 will be the bill that addresses state P3 projects. HB 1534 still is pending with broad P3 enabling provisions for public facility and transportation projects, but likely will be limited to local governments.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA and AIA Defeat Onerous Public Official Bond Bill in New HampshireOpen in a New Window

SFAA and AIA Defeat Onerous Public Official Bond Bill in New Hampshire 

SFAA and AIA opposed and defeated HB 204, which would have permitted inhabitants of the State to make claims on the bonds required for state officials, clerks, and employees to seek indemnity against losses resulting from the official or employee's failure to perform their duties or from an official or an employee's fraudulent act or omission.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

Multiple Government Affairs updates postedOpen in a New Window

 

SFAA Addressing Bonding Requirements in Port Authority Bills in Florida and Oregon

Oregon HB 2750, which would allow the Port of Hood River to conduct tollway projects within its district. The bill would allow private entities to own and operate the tollway in an agreement with the port. Except for the prevailing wage laws, the bill would exempt these projects from the existing public procurement laws for construction contracts so that the Little Miller Act would not apply. SFAA is seeking amendments to require bonding for these projects.

In Florida, HB 737 would renew the charter for the Port of Palm Beach District. SFAA reviewed the bonding issue and under current law, under which the port authority is a political subdivision of the State. Political subdivisions are subject to the Little Miller Act.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

States Interest in Public-Private Partnerships Remain High in 2017

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA and AIA Opposing Bond Threshold Increase for Indiana Educational Institutions

Indiana HB 1117 has been amended in the Senate to provide that contractors would not have to furnish a performance bond or a payment bond on public works contracts under $500,000 with a state educational institution if the institution agrees to waive the bond requirement. Originally, the bill only pertained to the partial release of a subdivision bond. The bill passed the Senate and has been sent to the House for approval. SFAA and AIA are opposing the bill.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

States Consider Model Law on Notaries with Bonding Requirements

In 2017, some states have introduced bills this year to implement the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts from the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law (NCCUSL). The model provides that the notary must post a bond or its functional equivalent and leaves it to the state to decide the amount required. The model gives the state agency implementing the law the authority to determine what forms of security would be accepted through regulations. Bills currently are pending in: Idaho (HB 125/HB 209), Indiana (SB 539), Kentucky (HB 218/HB 539), Minnesota (SB 893/HB 1609), and Washington (SB 5081).

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

Pennsylvania Bill would Eliminate Discretionary Security Requirements in Little Miller Act

In Pennsylvania, SB 493 would revise the Little Miller Act to repeal the broad discretion granted to state and local public contracting entities to accept "any financial security" to secure performance and payment obligations, and to set forth specific acceptable forms of security. The bill would limit the security that may be furnished to performance and payment bonds, letters of credit, or escrow accounts in an amount equal to 100% of the contract.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Recently Introduced P3 Legislation

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA Addressing Little Miller Act Bills in Tennessee

Tennessee HB 1036/SB 884 would increase the bond threshold from $100,000 to $200,000 for contracts let by the State Building Commission for state building projects. SFAA is working to defeat the bill.

Legislation also has been introduced under SB 681/HB 981 that would revise Tennessee’s Little Miller Act so that the bonds required for public construction contracts would have to be for a minimum of 25% of the contract price. Currently, the bonds must be equal to 25% of the contract price.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

P3 Bill Sent to Governor in Utah

Legislation has passed in Utah under SB 204 that would make minimal revisions to the existing public procurement code to authorize state and local procurement units to use public-private partnerships (P3) for public works projects. The bill does not specify any additional requirements for the P3 other than what is in the existing law, which includes the Little Miller Act. The bill is on the Governor’s desk for signing.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

SFAA and Industry Partners Obtain Changes in Virginia Contractor Prequalification Bill Sent to Governor

Virginia HB 2017 is heading the Governor’s desk. Under existing law, for non-transportation public construction contracts that exceed $100,000 and are less than $500,000, contractors must be prequalified under the existing law's standards when bonds are not required. The bill provides that a locality may waive the requirement for prequalification of a bidder upon a written determination made in advance that waiving the requirement is in the best interests of the locality, but only under the following circumstances: 1) the bidder has a current Class A contractor license; 2) the contract amount is in excess of $100,000 but less than $300,000; 3) the locality cannot enter into more than ten such construction contracts per year; and 4) the provisions for waiving the prequalification would expire on July 1, 2021.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

U.S. Department of Labor accepts SFAA's proposed ERISA formOpen in a New Window

U.S. Department of Labor accepts SFAA's proposed ERISA form 

SFAA is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) regarding its standard form language providing ERISA fidelity coverage. Section 412 of ERISA and related regulations require that “handlers” of plan funds be bonded. This requirement is usually met with a fidelity bond.  Since 2015, EBSA Regional Offices have objected to SFAA’s standard fidelity bond language, opining that such language did not comply with section 412 of ERISA or with 29 CFR 2580.412-9.

SFAA immediately engaged in discussions with EBSA and proposed revised language contained in a new ERISA Dishonesty Bond. Those discussions and negotiations finally have borne fruit. EBSA staff recently has advised that the language in the ERISA Dishonesty Bond is acceptable and addresses fully EBSA’s concerns. SFAA will be filing the form with state insurance departments and should be available for use in the fourth quarter of 2017.

 

U.S. EPA Delays Controversial Hard Rock Mining RuleOpen in a New Window

U.S. EPA Delays Controversial Hard Rock Mining Rule 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extended by four months the comment period on its proposed rules to establish financial responsibility requirements for hard rock mining operations for metals and non-metallic fuel minerals to implement §108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Surety bonds would be accepted to meet the requirement. The EPA also is considering limiting or eliminating the option for coal companies to self-bond. SFAA will be developing comments on the proposed rules.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

Federal/State Regulatory Reports for February 2017 posted for MembersOpen in a New Window

 

Regulatory reports for February 2017 have been posted on rules affecting Commercial Surety and Contract Surety that were recently proposed or adopted.

 For Members only (or from the menu, select "Government Relations" / "Federal/State Regulations")


 

 

Federal Construction Industry Procurement Reform Coalition Legislation for this CongressOpen in a New Window

Federal Construction Industry Procurement Reform Coalition Legislation for this Congress 
Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

States Interest in Public-Private Partnerships Remain High in 2017Open in a New Window

  States Interest in Public-Private Partnerships Remain High in 2017 
Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

Key P3 Stakeholder Group Urges U.S. EPA to Require Bonding for WIFIA-Financed ProjectsOpen in a New Window

  Key P3 Stakeholder Group Urges U.S. EPA to Require Bonding for WIFIA-Financed Projects 
Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.

 

New Hampshire Bond Threshold Bill Amended to Lower Proposed IncreaseOpen in a New Window

New Hampshire Bond Threshold Bill Amended to Lower Proposed Increase 

As originally introduced, New Hampshire HB 371 would have increased the state bond threshold from $35,000 to $150,000. Following a committee hearing on the bill, with materials from SFAA, AIA state counsel has addressed the misconceptions about how much the bonds cost and whether the contractor or the public contracting entity pays the cost that some small contractors had raised. The bill has been amended so that the bond threshold is increased from $35,000 to $75,000 instead of $150,000. The bill also was amended to allow political subdivisions to opt-out of the bonding requirements. SFAA is reviewing the Little Miller Acts to assess this provision and will continue to work with AIA to address the bill.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

New Mexico P3 Bills Introduced with SFAA and AIA’s Bonding ProvisionsOpen in a New Window

  New Mexico P3 Bills Introduced with SFAA and AIA’s Bonding Provisions 

Bills recently introduced in New Mexico to authorize State and local governments to use public-private partnerships (P3) include bonding provisions that SFAA and AIA previously obtained in prior sessions in addressing P3 bills.  These bills include SB 426 (tourism services buildings and facilities), SB 418 (behavioral health services buildings and facilities), HB 275 (all public works projects), and SB 143 (telecommunications infrastructure and public building projects for the conservation of natural resources).

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


 

SFAA Urges EPA to Include Bonding Requirements in Regulations to Implement WIFIAOpen in a New Window

SFAA Urges EPA to Include Bonding Requirements in Regulations to Implement WIFIA 

SFAA and NASBP submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address an interim final rule to implement the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). The law allows the EPA to provide secured loans and loan guarantees to eligible water infrastructure projects. The EPA will enter into credit agreements that are negotiated between the project sponsor and the EPA. The regulations largely deal with repayment of WIFIA loans and loan guarantees. The comments from SFAA and NASBP urge that the interests of the federal government should be protected on water projects, including when federal funds are at risk, through bonding requirements.

Members should visit Government Relations / General Info (Members) for more information.


Government Relations - General Info (Public)

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
US Dept. of Labor accepts SFAA proposed ERISA form PDF (198.39 KB)  more ] Administration 3/3/2017
SFAA and AIA Working with Indiana Attorney General PDF (81.72 KB)  more ] Administration 2/23/2016
Bond Waiver Bill Resurfaces in Cuyahoga County, OH PDF (156.11 KB) Administration 2/9/2016
Wisconsin - New Draft of Surety Indexing Bill ... PDF (142.4 KB)  more ] Administration 1/27/2016
Proposed Bonding Amendments for Federal Water ... PDF (142.93 KB)  more ] Administration 1/27/2016
Oklahoma - Transportation & Public Facility P3... PDF (156.37 KB)  more ] Administration 1/27/2016
Congress and States Start to Convene 2016 Sessions PDF (166.5 KB)  more ] Administration 1/7/2016
President Signs Two Surety Provisions into Law PDF (149.47 KB)  more ] Administration 11/30/2015
Final Congressional Conference Report on NDAA ... PDF (149.44 KB)  more ] Administration 9/30/2015
President Signs 3-Month Extension to Highway Act PDF (149.84 KB) Administration 8/3/2015
US House Makes First Move on Extending Highway ... PDF (163.37 KB)  more ] Administration 7/15/2015
Congress Gives VA Construction Short Term Patch PDF (38.06 KB) Administration 6/18/2015
IL Bond Form for Commercial Drivers License Test.. PDF (95.59 KB)  more ] Administration 6/12/2015
Federal Construction Coalition Procurement ... PDF (108.85 KB)  more ] Administration 6/9/2015
Nevada Adjourns - Update on Key Surety Legislation PDF (108.66 KB) Administration 6/9/2015
New York $500,000 Bond Threshold Bill to be Heard PDF (108.55 KB) Administration 6/8/2015
Construction Coalition Bill Introduced in Senate PDF (109.15 KB) Administration 6/5/2015
Congress Extends Funding for VA Hospital Project.. PDF (108.96 KB)  more ] Administration 5/26/2015
Congress Heads to Recess without a Solution to ... PDF (121.69 KB)  more ] Administration 5/21/2015
Short Term Extension Likely for Highway Trust Fund PDF (110.28 KB) Administration 5/21/2015
Connecticut Nullum Tempus Bill Passes Legislature PDF (109.32 KB) Administration 5/20/2015
SFAA Comments on Commerce Dept. Bond Waivers ... PDF (95.65 KB)  more ] Administration 5/19/2015
Bills to Transfer Control of VA Construction ... PDF (94.18 KB)  more ] Administration 4/30/2015
Connecticut Nullum Tempus Bill Amended Favorably PDF (96.38 KB) Administration 4/7/2015
New Commercial Surety Bond Opportunity Passes ... PDF (95.5 KB)  more ] Administration 3/31/2015
Sureties in Iowa Fight Bond Waiver PDF (95.62 KB) Administration 3/18/2015
CT Nullum Tempus Bill to be Heard in Committee PDF (109.05 KB) Administration 3/4/2015
SFAA Participates in Joint Trade Comments on ... PDF (62.65 KB)  more ] Administration 2/12/2015
US House Small Business Subcommittee Hearing... PDF (1.17 MB)  more ] Administration 2/12/2015
Congress Enacts New Bond Requirement for ... PDF (50.72 KB)  more ] Administration 1/5/2015
Infrastructure Bills Are Moving in New Jersey PDF (65.83 KB) Administration 12/19/2014
Threshold for Payment Security under Miller Act PDF (64.75 KB)  more ] Administration 12/12/2014
Surety Issues in Congress Wait Until Next Year PDF (54.55 KB) Administration 12/11/2014
Summary of Mid-Term Election Results PDF (50.47 KB) Administration 11/5/2014
Treasury Dept. Issues Final Rules on Sureties ... PDF (65.06 KB)  more ] Administration 10/22/2014
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