MACo Opposes Hiring Limitations for Jail Procurement Processes

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony on March 10, 2020 before the House Health & Government Operations Committee to oppose HB 1524 (CF SB 858) – Procurement and Correctional Facilities –  Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals. Although well-intentioned, the bill places concerning and complicated requirements on the local jail procurement process that may hamper rather than help the process for employing formerly incarcerated individuals.

MACo also submitted testimony last month to oppose the cross-filed Senate Bill 858. This far, neither chamber has adopted amendments or moved the bill forward.

This bill would require procurement contracts for local jail goods and services to include a clause related to the hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals. Additionally, the local jail procurement must give preference to bidders based on the number of employees who are formerly incarcerated.

From the MACo Testimony:

Counties are concerned that the bill would place onerous burdens on the procurement process resulting in a decrease in contractor bids, a less competitive and longer bidding process, and higher overall procurement costs – without bolstering the number of previously incarcerated individuals or properly preparing them for the workforce. Additionally, some formerly incarcerated individuals may not pass the necessary background checks for on-site jobs, making it difficult for employers and procurement officials to comply with the bill.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.