The Legislature has several public procurement-related bills still alive in the legislative process.
Some of these bills would change the requirements for members of the board that approves all state contracts and provides exemptions from procurement law, while several others would make changes to the state law that requires reverse auctions for most purchases. These auctions, also known as E-auctions, force bidders to compete against each in real time to deliver the lowest bid that can save taxpayers money.
House Bill 1160 is sponsored by state Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn. The bill was amended from its original form to reconstitute the state’s Public Procurement Review Board and forbids the appointment of any individual to the board that receives any grants or contracts subject to approval by the board.
The retained language forbids a review board member from having served as an officer or an employee of the state within a year of appointment to the board.
The bill passed the House by an 81-27 margin and was approved by the Senate Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee on Thursday.
HB 1173 is authored by state Rep. Ken McCarty, R-Hattiesburg, and would remove the requirement that reverse auctions be used by items bought by school districts that aren’t resold. It would allow local school boards to authorize individual schools (along with public charter schools) to solicit bids by methods other than reverse auctions.
The bill passed the House by a 116-3 margin on February 9 and has been assigned to the Senate Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee.
HB 1475 would add the requirement that a state agency or government entity that asks the Public Procurement Board for an exemption must also receive approval from its governing body or board and publish a detailed explanation of why a reverse auction wouldn't be in the best interests of the agency or governmental body. The bill is authored by state Rep. Donnie Bell, R-Fulton.
It passed the House by a 115-3 margin on February 2 and has been assigned to the Senate Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee.
HB 1477 would forbid the use of reverse auctions for any procurement of labor or services for design and construction. This bill would also forbid reverse auctions in bidding processes that procure goods that require installation, fabrication or construction using construction or design labor. This would also include remodeling or repair of any public facilities or buildings.
The bill was authored by state Rep. Jody Steverson, R-Ripley and passed the House by a 116-3 margin and has been referred to the Senate Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee.
Senate Bill 2806 would forbid the use of reverse auctions for the repair and remodeling of public facilities.
It is authored by state Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, and passed the House Thursday on an 81-32 vote, but is being held on a motion to reconsider.
Senate Bill 2371 would raise the threshold for governmental entities advertising bids from $50,000 to $75,000 to use the lowest and best bidder without advertising for bids provided that two competitive bids have been obtained. This bill would also allow governmental entities the ability to choose whether to use reverse auctions on term bids. These contracts govern the supply of a commodity at a set price over a term, often a year.
This is done with some types of commodities, such as asphalt or concrete pipe, to lock in a low price when fluctuations are possible.
Last year, Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law a bill that ended the requirement for reverse auctions on term bids.
It is sponsored by state Sen. Dean Kirby, R-Pearl and passed the Senate by a 51-1 margin. The bill was approved on February 22 by the House Workforce Development Committee.