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Small & Emerging Contractors

 

What's New: Government Affairs

Multiple Government Affairs updates posted

Thursday, April 13, 2017  
 

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.



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