Heyl Royster

 

Senate Amendment Would Create the "Illinois Responsible Bidder on Public Works Projects Act"

May 23, 2014

On May 21, 2014, Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) introduced Senate Amendment No. 1 to House Bill No. 924 (Senate Amendment 001). The Amendment would create the Illinois Responsible Bidder on Public Works Projects Act. The Act would require all Public Bodies to award Public Works Projects (defined as fixed works constructed or demolished by any public body, or paid for wholly or in part out of public funds…including all projects financed in whole or in part with bonds, grants, loans, or other funds made available by or through the State or any of its political subdivisions…) to Responsible Bidders.

To qualify as a Responsible Bidder, the Contractor has to fulfill with the following requirements:

  1. Comply with all laws concerning entitlement to conduct business within Illinois;
  2. Comply with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act;
  3. Comply with all federal Civil Rights regulations;
  4. Have a valid Federal Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number.
  5. Have a valid Certificate of Insurance showing coverage in: general liability, professional liability, product liability, workers' compensation, completed operations, hazardous occupation and automobile;
  6. Participate in an apprenticeship and training program approved by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (also applicable to subcontractors);
  7. Must submit a signed affidavit stating it will maintain an Illinois office as the primary place of employment for persons employed on the construction;
  8. Must have an existing contractual obligation or agree to a contractual obligation to maximize the use of apprentices on a project.

The Act contains a three-year phase-in schedule for "small public works contracts" that requires the public body to certify the contract is below the financial threshold and is not an attempt to avoid compliance with the Act. Projects less than $100,000 are exempt from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Projects less than $50,000 are exempt from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. Projects less than $20,000 will be exempt from July 1, 2017 forward. A "small public works contract" cannot be directly or indirectly a component of an existing or future public works project, thereby eliminating the ability to break up one large project into smaller projects to meet the financial threshold.

If a public body is found to be in violation of this Act, it can be fined between $5,000 to $10,000 for each day of work that occurs in violation of the Act. Contractors face similar penalties. In addition, public bodies can be banned from using any exemptions under the Act for a period of five years. Penalties will be used to fund the Apprenticeship Participation Fund through the Illinois Department of Labor which will establish and maintain recruitment tools and programs to support apprenticeship applicant recruitment goals established by the Contractor Access Council.