OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5821 (as amended by House “A,” “B” and “C”)*

AN ACT CONCERNING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS.

SUMMARY:

This bill allows state-licensed engineers to certify that economic development projects comply with all state permitting requirements. It specifies the professional criteria an engineer must meet before he or she can certify a project. But it does not indicate if the agency funding the project, the project's developer, or the agency issuing the permit must approve the engineer. Nor does it state if the permitting agency must issue the permit when the engineer certifies compliance.

The bill authorizes a maximum 10% bid preference for businesses that purchase goods or services from a business whose gross revenue in the most recent fiscal year does not exceed $ 3 million (i. e. , “micro businesses”). The administrative services commissioner may grant the preference when determining the lowest qualified bidder. Current law authorizes the same preference for businesses selling specific types of products. It also requires state agencies to set aside contracts for exclusive bidding by small and minority-owned businesses.

Lastly, the bill amends sHB 6502, which requires among other things, a business taking over a state building service contract to retain the people hired under the prior contract for at least 90 days. Current law imposes a similar requirement on businesses taking over a food and beverage service contract at Bradley International Airport from another business. The bill exempts Bradley food and beverage contracts from sHB 6502's requirement.

*House Amendment “A” makes a conforming technical change.

*House Amendment “B” adds the 10% bid preference for businesses purchasing goods or services from micro businesses.

*House Amendment “C” adds the exemption regarding food and beverage service contracts at Bradley.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009, except for that the authorization regarding state-licensed engineers takes effect October 1, 2009.

CERTIFYING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

Eligible Engineers

The bill specifies the criteria a state-licensed engineer must meet to certify that an economic development project complies with state permitting requirements. An engineer may certify compliance if he or she practices engineering based on knowledge acquired through professional education and practical experience. The knowledge must be of mathematics, physical science, and engineering principles.

The engineer's practice may include consulting, investigating, evaluating, planning, designing, or supervising construction projects. The projects may be related to public or privately owned structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, or works. They must affect the public welfare or present the need to safeguard life, public health, or property.

Lastly, the engineer must be licensed by the state as a professional engineer.

Eligible Projects

The bill's certification option is available for four types of economic development projects. The first type includes many traditional economic development uses, including manufacturing, industrial, research, office, product warehousing and distribution, and hydroponic or aquaponic food production facilities. These uses qualify for permit certification if the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA) determines they will maintain or create jobs; maintain or increase the tax base; or maintain, expand, or diversify industry.

A wide range of environmental quality projects also qualifies for permit certification. Eligible projects include controlling, abating, preventing, or disposing of land, water, air and other environmental pollution, including thermal, radiation, sewage, wastewater, solid waste, toxic waste, noise, or particulate pollution. They do not include new resources recovery facilities used mainly to process municipal solid waste.

Alternate energy and energy conservation projects involving commercial or industrial applications qualify for permit certification. They include projects using cogeneration technology or solar, wind, hydro, biomass, or other renewable energy sources.

Lastly, permit certification is also available to any type of project that improves the capacity of the state's economy to generate new wealth. CDA must first determine if the project will create or retain jobs, promote exports, encourage innovation, or support the state's economic base in other ways.

MICRO BUSINESS BID PREFERENCE

The bill extends the current maximum 10% bid preference to businesses that purchase goods or services from micro businesses. Current law allows the DAS commissioner to grant the preference when purchasing goods made with recycled materials or that can be recycled or remanufactured if doing so would promote recycling or remanufacturing. She can also grant the preference for motor vehicles using clean alternative fuels or that can use both these fuels and conventional ones.

Current law also requires state agencies to set-aside contracts for exclusive bidding by small businesses. A business qualifies for set-aside bidding if it grossed no more than $ 15 million in the most recently completed fiscal year and meets other specified criteria.

BACKGROUND

Legislative History

The bill amends sHB 6502 (File 966) on the Senate calendar. That bill, among other things, requires a new contractor that takes over an existing state building service to keep the employees form the previous contract for at least 90 days after the date it begins service under the new contract and permits it to fire those employees only for cause. It excludes from this requirement people with disabilities or disadvantaged people working in the janitorial work pilot program under contracts with no more than four full-time workers.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Commerce Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

20

Nay

0

(03/12/2009)