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Bills Dramatically Expand Universities’ Use of Alternative Procurement

AGC opposes legislation that would give the University of Washington and Washington State University the authority to craft their own alternative bidding processes. AGC supports an alternative bill that affirms that changes to the alternative bidding statures must first be considered by the Capitol Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB)

HB 1916 and SB 5760 would grant UW and WSU specific authority for public works projects whenever the revenue source for the projects does not include state appropriated funds. The authority granted allows the universities to award public works projects using a small works roster process for projects with an estimated cost of up to $1 million as opposed to the current limit of $200000. Plus the universities could use the DBB DB or GCCM construction methods for projects with an estimated cost in excess of $1 million; the current threshold is $10 million. The universities would be allowed to prequalify and limit the number of bidders.

AGC Legislative Counsel Van Collins testified in opposition to the bill. One area of concern has to do with the concept of state appropriated funds. Much of the construction that would be undertaken by the universities with this new authority would be funded in part by funds that are not directly state appropriated but are public funds nonetheless. For example while revenues from the UW Medical Center are not state-appropriated they are still public funds and therefore projects built with these funds should abide by the same rules as any other public project.

The dramatic increase in the small works dollar limit and decrease in the threshold for using GCCM DB are too aggressive said Collins. It would be better to allow CPARB to review and make recommendations to adjust procedures as needed. CPARB is a forum where all stakeholders consider proposals and make recommendations to the Legislature. The universities are good owners for our members to work with but we do have a difference of opinion on this issue.

AGC supports an alternative bill HB 1690 which clarifies that the universities must seek evaluation and approval of CPARB prior to adopting an alternative procedure that is not specifically authorized by law.

HB 1916 and SB 5760 have been passed out of their original House and Senate Committees. HB 1916 is now in the House Capital Budget Committee and is sponsored by Representatives Hunt Armstrong Sells Wallace Haigh Appleton and Ormsby. SB 5760 is in the Senate Rules Committee and is sponsored by Senators Fraser Brandland Zarelli Shin Kilmer and Kohl-Welles.

The AGC-supported HB 1690 is sponsored by Representatives Hasegawa Hunt Hudgins Anderson and Kenney and has been passed by both the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Affairs and the House Capital Budget Committee.

Contact Van Collins at 360-352-5000 with questions or comments about the bill.



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