The 2021 Legislative Session will no doubt go down in history as one of the most favorable to the construction industry. Below is a recap of key legislation of importance to the underground utility and construction industry. Most notably, NUCA of Florida’s priority legislation relating to Public Works projects was approved by the Governor last night!
Bills of Interest That Passed & Subsequently Approved by the Governor
Public Works Project—HB 53 by Rep. DiCeglie (SB 1076 by Sen. Brodeur)
HB 53 removes the “50 percent or more state-appropriated funds” funding threshold for public works projects on competitive solicitations for construction services, thus increasing the prohibition on local preferences to any project that is state- funded. The bill also revises the definition of “public works projects” to remove the 50 % state-appropriated funds criteria and replaces it with a cost threshold of more than $1M value paid for with any state-appropriated funds. The bill prohibits the state or any local government that contracts for a public works project from preventing a certified, licensed or registered contractor, subcontractor, or material supplier or carrier, from participating in the bidding process based on the geographic location of its headquarters, offices or residences of its employees.
HB 53 was amended to require the Office of Economic & Demographic Research (EDR) to include an analysis of the expenditures necessary to repair, replace, and expand water-related infrastructure in its annual assessment of Florida’s water resources and conservation lands. By June 30, 2022, and every five years thereafter, the bill requires each county, municipality, or special district providing wastewater or stormwater services to develop a needs analysis for its jurisdiction over the subsequent 20 years. The analyses must be compiled and submitted to EDR and EDR must evaluate the compiled documents for the purpose of developing a statewide analysis for inclusion in the annual assessment due January 1, 2023.
HB 53 passed the House 78-36 on 4/23, was amended and passed the Senate 24-16, returned to the House and finally passed 79-34 on 4/28. Approved by the Governor on June 29th.