The 2018 regular session of the Alabama Legislature ended early this year to allow lawmakers more time to campaign before the elections. It was a relatively smooth legislative session for AIA. These are some of the issues that we worked on during the session:
AIA Alabama Amends Buying Consortium Bill
HB69, by Rep. David Standridge, would allow county, municipal & local school board entities to purchase units or systems through competitively bid purchasing cooperatives sponsored by the National Association of Counties & the National League of Cities or their successor organizations. Provided the bid process has been approved by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. AIA Alabama worked with ACEC to get the following amendment added to the measure in both chambers: "The exemption from the requirement to utilize sealed bids for the purchase of heating or air conditioning units or systems authorized by this amendatory act shall not serve to exempt any public works project from the remaining provisions of this article, including, but not limited to, design and review requirements, compliance with all applicable codes, laws, specifications & standards, & the compensation of engineers, architects or others mandated by Alabama law or regulation."HB69 passed.
AIA Alabama Joins Effort to Stop Another Public Bid Exemption Bill
HB101 by Rep. Lynn Greer, would have created an exemption from the competitive bid law for certain agricultural authorities. AIA Alabama met with the sponsor along with lobbyists for the AGC, Road Builders, ACEC & Alabama Contractors Association to express our opposition to this exemption. Rep. Greer was very gracious & withdrew the bill until further negotiations could be discussed. Under existing law, a county may establish an agriculture authority to promote agricultural businesses, operations & commodities, workforce development & economic development within the county. This bill would have exempted an agriculture authority from state competitive bid laws for any contract for public works. Meaning such authorities could build hotels, music halls, meeting space & anything else they choose to build without adhering to Alabama's competitive bid law.
Measure Requiring Bonding Dead for This Session
SB184, by Sen. Arthur Orr, would have required an entity entering into a public-private agreement of $50,000 or more for development or construction (or both), to occur on public property or public right-of-way to be subjected to certain requirements for public works contracts regardless of the origination of the financing or funds for the work or improvements to be accomplished in the agreement. In other words, this bill would require that such public private projects must include performance & payment bonds as required on Title 39 projects. The bill was opposed by the Alabama State Docks and the Alabama Highway Department and failed to pass.
Engineers Statute Still One Vote from Passage
SB316, by Sen. Clyde Chambliss revises the engineers license law in an effort to resolve issues between some portions of the land surveyors group & the engineering community. Currently, the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors licenses & regulates both engineers & land surveyors in the state. This bill would revise a number of definitions in their statute & provide more detail in the law with regard to violations, penalties, & disciplinary actions & reorganize sections of the law. The bill would add two public members to the board & revise qualifications of certain members of the board. This bill would revise the level of funds in the Professional Engineers & Professional Land Surveyors Fund that triggers a transfer of funds to the General Fund. This bill would authorize the board to adopt rules that allow engineers & land surveyors to solicit certain professional services in accordance with competitive, qualification-based selection policies & procedures & that prohibit the procurement of services by competitive bidding. The bill passed both bodies of the Legislature.