Legislation (HB 4282) being debated in House committee this week would allow the state to debar contractors from doing work for the state if they had more than one MIOSHA or prevailing wage violation in the previous three years.
As ridiculous as the legislation seems, misguided legislators were holding their second hearing on legislation they believed would get rid of “bad actors” from bidding on state contracts. Unfortunately, the effect of this legislation would be to give bureaucrats the authority to ban quality contractors with the best track records who may have made inadvertent mistakes over a period of years.
Mike Nystrom testified on Wednesday to the House Commerce Committee and offered numerous examples as to why this would be a bad public policy. Although the committee had intended to report the bill with favorable recommendation that day, the testimony raised enough questions among committee members that the bill was stalled.
In addition, in a Senate committee hearing this week, legislators questioned MDOT as to why they did not reject all or most unbalanced bids. Again, Nystrom testified that strict rejection of seemingly unbalanced bids would quell contractor creativity and innovation and would not offer the best deal for state taxpayers.
Although MITA reports frequently to the membership about state funding efforts, it is often regulatory legislation like this that is quietly being considered behind the scenes that can have the most dramatic impact on the heavy construction industry. If MITA does its job lobbying, these issues will never surface beyond initial legislative discussions. The MITA lobbying staff works diligently to ensure contractor interests are protected, whether the issue is headline news or just another ill-conceived legislative idea.
Please contact Mike Nystrom at firstname.lastname@example.org or Keith Ledbetter at email@example.com or call the MITA office at 517-347-8336 with any questions or comments.