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General Assembly Update

February 29, 2012

Minority Business Measure Fails

SB 65  Provides that the Governor shall require state agencies to implement appropriate enhancement or remedial measures consistent with prevailing law when a persuasive analysis exists that documents statistically significant disparity between the availability and utilization of women-owned and minority-owned businesses. The bill had passed the Senate, but was “carried over” to 2013 by a House subcommittee.

Mechanics Lien Bill Carried Over

HB 1265  Provides that any person intending to perfect a mechanics’ lien against a one- or two-family residential dwelling unit must send the mechanics’ lien agent designated on the building permit or, if no agent is designated, the property owner written notice of his intention at least 30 days before filing the memorandum of lien with the clerk of the court. The bill also provides that if no mechanics’ lien agent is designated on the building permit, the permit shall contain the name and mailing address of the property owner. The bill was carried over by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.

Omnibus Transportation Bills Headed to Conference

SB 639 and HB 1248 which began as the Governor’s Omnibus Transportation bills have each been rejected by the other body.  If you recall these bills took very different paths as they worked there way through their respective houses. While there are numerous differences between the bills, the primary difference is that the House version still has intact the Governor’s proposal to increase funding for transportation by moving, over a seven year period, ¼ of a percent of the sales tax revenues from the general fund to transportation. The Senate has rejected this idea, substituting a gas tax indexing provision instead. A major concern was that the House would reject the Senate version and vice versa, leaving no vehicle for a conference committee to work out differences. However, the House “conformed” the Senate bill to the House language, and the Senate “conformed” the House bill to the Senate language, and both have asked for a “committee of conference”.  This leaves the funding issues, and other differences in the bills, open for the conference committee to resolve.

Bonding Bill Passes Senate Committee

HB 945 raises from $250,000 to $350,000 the contract amount for which performance and payment bonds are required on transportation-related projects partially or wholly funded by the Commonwealth.  The bill further provides that for such projects valued in excess of $250,000 but less than $350,000, the payment and performance bond can only be waived by a public body if the bid is accompanied by evidence that a surety company has declined an application from the contractor for a bid bond.  The bill requires the Commissioner of Highways and the Department of the Treasury to establish a prequalification program that is agreeable to both agencies, pursuant to the Department of the Treasury, Division of Risk Management, VaWorks Program (self-bonding program).  The bill further provides that prospective bidders for transportation-related construction projects that are valued in excess of $250,000 but less than $350,000 who have submitted evidence of denial of a bid bond shall participate in the prequalification program agreed to by the Commissioner of Highways and the Department of the Treasury. [REMINDER that VTCA amendments to this bill were adopted by the House and remain a part of the bill].  The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee passed the bill unanimously.

Project Labor Agreement Bill Passes House and Senate            

HB 33 Requires state agencies to ensure that neither the state agency nor any construction manager acting on behalf of the state agency shall, in its bid specifications, project agreements, or other controlling documents relating to the operation, erection, construction, alteration, improvement, maintenance, or repair of any public facility of public works: (i) require or prohibit bidders, offerors, contractors, or subcontractors to enter into or adhere to agreements with one or more labor organizations, on the same or related projects; or (ii) discriminate against bidders, offerors, contractors, subcontractors, or operators for becoming or refusing to become or remain signatories or otherwise to adhere to agreements with one or more labor organizations, on the same or other related public works projects.  The bill has passed both the House and Senate. 

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