PA 09-184—sHB 5821

Commerce Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, IN-STATE MICRO BUSINESSES AND THE STANDARD WAGE

SUMMARY: This act allows certain state-licensed engineers to certify to permitting agencies that economic development projects comply with all state permitting requirements and specifies the professional criteria they must meet before they can do so. But the act 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 act authorizes a maximum 10% state bid preference for businesses that purchase goods or services from a business whose gross revenue in the most recently completed 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 on all open market orders or contracts. Existing law already authorizes the same preference for businesses selling specific types of products and requires state agencies to set aside contracts for exclusive bidding by small and minority-owned businesses.

Lastly, the act amends PA 09-183 that 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. The law imposes a similar requirement on businesses taking over a food and beverage service contract at Bradley International Airport from another business. This act exempts Bradley food and beverage contracts from PA 09-183's requirement.

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

CERTIFYING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

Eligible Engineers

The act authorizes certain state-licensed engineers to certify that an economic development project complies with state permitting requirements. The authorization applies to people who are educated or receive practical training in mathematics, physical science, and engineering principles to work as engineers. Their work may include consulting, investigating, evaluating, planning, designing, or supervising construction projects related to public or privately owned structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, or works. The projects must affect the public welfare or present the need to safeguard life, public health, or property.

Eligible Projects

The act's certification option is available for four types of economic development projects. The first type includes many traditional economic development uses, such as 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 act extends the current maximum 10% bid preference to businesses that purchase goods or services from micro businesses. Existing 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.

Existing 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

Related Act

PA 09-183 requires, among other things, a new contractor that takes over an existing state building service to keep the employees from 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.

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