General Assembly Update
February 10, 2012
House Committee Keeps Protections against Cooperative Procurement
HB 1295 the Administration’s bill to “reduce or eliminate” mandates on local governments contained language that would have repealed the protections on cooperative procurement. Cooperative procurement allows one or more jurisdictions to use the procurement of another jurisdiction. Thus, Jurisdiction A could go out to bid for goods and services, then jurisdictions B, C, and D could use that procurement for the same goods and services…without ever having to go out to bid. Two years ago VTCA worked to pass a $200,000/75 mile limitation on the use of cooperative procurement. HB 1295 would have removed those limitations. Yesterday, VTCA lobbied successfully in the House General Laws Committee to keep the protections on. (See February 9th General Assembly Update regarding similar success in the Senate)
Governor’s Omnibus Transportation Bill Passes Senate Committee
The Senate Finance Committee passed its version of the Governor’s Omnibus Transportation Bill yesterday (See February 9th General Assembly Update). The Senate committee made significant changes in the bill, the most notable of which was the inclusion of a gas tax indexing instead of the Governor’s proposal of using general fund sales tax as a transportation funding source.
Voting FOR the bill were Senators Stosch, Colgan, Howell, Saslaw, Norment, Hanger, Watkins, Miller, Y.B., Marsh, Lucas, Ruff, Wagner. Voting AGAINST the bill were Senators Newman (R-Lynchburg), McDougle (R-Hanover), and Vogel (R-Winchester).
Compromise Pending on Mechanics Lien Bill
HB 1265 Provides that a mechanics’ lien claimant must send to the property owner written notice of his intent to file a memorandum of lien and a copy of the memorandum at least 60 days before filing the memorandum with the clerk of the court. The clerk shall not accept or record any memorandum of lien that is filed prior to the expiration of the 60-day period or that is not accompanied by a copy of the notice sent to the property owner.
This legislation could significantly impact VTCA members that do private work. VTCA has been working with the patron to make revisions to the bill. At this time the patron has agreed to several amendments that would substantially lessen the burden on subcontractors and suppliers with regards to perfecting their liens.
Bonding Bill Still in Limbo
HB 945 raises from $250,000 to $500,000 the contract amount for which performance and payment bonds are required on transportation-related projects partially or wholly funded by the Commonwealth. The Administration supports this bill. VTCA opposes the bill. VTCA and other industry groups have been working with the Administration, the patron and the General Laws Committee Chairman to work out a compromise. Yesterday, at the “last” House General Laws Committee meeting before crossover, the bill did not come up, which meant the bill would die. Subsequently, the Administration met with the Chairman of the Committee asking him to hold a special meeting to hear the bill. VTCA met with the Chairman this morning and proposed several amendments that would make the bill acceptable. The Chairman seemed amenable to those amendments. There may now be a special meeting of the Committee to take up the bill. VTCA will be there to support our amendments.