MACo: Proposed Procurement Regulations To Prove Onerous

On March 3rd, 2021 MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified before the House Health and Government Operations Committee in opposition to HB 1214 Procurement- Transparency and Application to County Contracts. This bill requires all procurement contracts that use state funds be subject to a variety of additional state procurement regulations.

From the MACo Testimony:

HB 1214 redefines the term “unit” in state procurement law to include county government entities. This would subject county procurement contracts that leverage any amount of state money to state regulations causing counties to adopt two separate procurement procedures. Counties often work with
the state entity from which they received funds and are already subject to state requirements such as Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) participation goals. However, requiring two separate policies for county procurement would be costly and inefficient.

The bill would also impose several new notice requirements for county procurement contracts that involve the use of state funds. Procurement units must publish notice of specified awards on eMaryland Marketplace within 15 (instead of 30) days from the execution and approval of a contract in excess of $50,000. Also, within 15 days, a procurement unit must deliver by email and first-class mail to each unsuccessful bidder or offeror a notice stating that the bidder was unsuccessful. Unsuccessful offerors may already request a debriefing, which under current law must be provided at the earliest feasible time. For many counties, new requirements would demand significant additional staff time and effort. Many procurement offices have limited staff, and burdensome requirements such as these would only further strain operations.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2021 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.