By R. Bruce Kershner, NUCA of FL Director of Government Relations
Governor Rick Scott signed SB 778 Thursday limiting the use of local preferences by cities and counties when awarding construction contracts. A top legislative priority for NUCA of Florida, the Governor’s action culminates years of frustration in trying to prohibit the increasing use of local ordinances that gives preferences to local contractors on construction projects.
NUCA of Florida thanks our sponsors, Senator Alan Hays (R – Umatilla) and Representative Keith Perry (R – Gainesville), for their efforts in the passage of this legislation. The path to victory was not easy. Local governments and the unions were relentless in their opposition to the bill often citing the local preference ordinances as economic development tools. What should have been a bipartisan free market bill became a bitter debate drawn down party lines.
The law, which takes effect on July 1, 2015, only affects local construction preferences where at least 50 percent of their funding comes from the state. The law also prohibits school districts, state colleges or other political subdivisions from using local preference ordinances. The law requires disclosure in the bid documents for compliance with the new law.