With the next legislative session only a few months away, we can expect to see further changes in laws impacting procurement which will require careful attention to detail.
During the 85th Legislative Session in 2017, several laws passed that require special wording be included in specifications to keep the county in compliance with purchasing statutes.
- B. 9 – established the Texas Cybercrime Act and created a third degree felony for a person who intentionally interrupts or suspends access to a computer system or network without consent of the entity or intentionally alters data, introduces ransomware, or decrypts encrypted private data.
- B. 89 – prohibits contracts with a company for goods or services unless the contract contains written verification from the company that it (1) does not boycott Israel, and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract. The Office of the Texas Comptroller (comptroller) has published a list of companies that boycott Israel, and this list should be checked before the awarding of a contract to a vendor.
- B. 1571 – requires governments to include the estimated amount of avoided expected future operating and maintenance costs when evaluating energy savings, along with all other pertinent costs when entering into an energy savings contract.
- B. 3223 – makes a political entity liable for damages caused by use of a vehicle used during a crime and requires a $1,000 penalty payment to the state if the entity violates the requirement to remove any equipment and insignia from the vehicle before selling or transferring the marked law enforcement vehicle.
- B. 252 – Provides that governmental entities may not enter into a contract with a company that does business with Iran, Sudan, or a foreign terrorist organization, as indicated on a list prepared by the comptroller. See the statute, Chapter 2252, Government Code, for exceptions.
- B. 255 – changes the Vendor Disclosure Form 1295. See related story for specifics.
- SB 622 – provides that the proposed budget of a political subdivision for a fiscal year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2018, must include a line item indicating expenditures for required newspaper notices that allows comparison between budgeted and actual expenditures.
- B. 1289 – Requires that construction projects in which iron or steel must be used must include a requirement that any iron or steel product used in the project must be produced in the United States, unless the total cost of the project will increase by more than 20 percent or complying with the requirement is not in the public interest. A number of other requirements are included in the law. Purchasing professionals are reporting rising bid costs as a result of this law. Any variance from the law should be made only after consulting with legal counsel and careful documentation. *