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Senate Changes Preference Bill into Reciprocity Bill

Legislation that was once opposed by AGC has now evolved into one that it supports after major amendments by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Senate Bill 5662 and House Bill 1809 would have originally established a seven percent preference for “resident contractors” on public works projects in Washington State. AGC opposed the measures as too costly; harmful to many contractors with long-time presences in the state who would fail to qualify as resident contractors due to the legislation’s high Washington workforce requirement; and likely to precipitate retaliation by neighboring states which would particularly impact contractors in Spokane Vancouver and other border areas.

Jerry Nutter of AGC-member Nutter Corporation in Vancouver testified against HB 1809 in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Affairs and convincingly so as the measure died there as the Committee did not pass it before a legislative cut-off date.

The Senate version (SB 5662) however was passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee but not before being altered considerably. The new bill (now known as Second Substitute Senate Bill 5662) eliminates the bidding advantage and replaces it with reciprocity provisions. Reciprocity provisions mean that any public works bidding process in Washington State that receives bids from a contractor from a state that provides bidding advantages to their own contractors must provide comparable advantages to Washington State contractors when comparing bids between in-state contractors and contractors from those other states.

Many other states have such “reciprocity” statutes on the books.

For more information contact AGC’s Legislative Counsel Van Collins at 360-352-5000.

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