Many government contractors are familiar with the well-established processes of federal bid protests. Less known is the dizzying variety of procedures applicable to state and local bid protests, and a rule that is well-established in one jurisdiction may be nonexistent in another. Although there are some unifying themes that pervade protest practice everywhere — namely,
State and Local Procurements
State of Emergency: COVID-19, the Stafford Act, and What It All Means for Contractors
On March 13, the President declared a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so activated the authorities available to the President under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 (the “Stafford Act”) to provide federal assistance to state and local governments responding to the emergency, including financial assistance.
The federal assistance is coordinated and provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) under the National Response Framework. Although the Stafford Act generally does not make funding directly available to private businesses, a large portion of the nearly $50 billion that the President said will be available to FEMA may be used to procure goods and services from contractors assisting the relief effort.…
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New York City, Vermont, and Other State and Local Governments Evaluating AI Trustworthiness
Earlier this year, the White House issued an Executive Order on AI mandating that the National Institute of Standards and Technology develop a guide to federal engagement on AI technical standards. While the federal government’s actions have understandably garnered significant attention, state and local governments are also undertaking preliminary efforts to engage on the technical…
New York Executive Order and Legislation Signal Increased Debarment Activity
Two recent developments in Albany suggest that New York is poised to kick its debarment activity into a higher gear. First, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order pointedly reminding state entities of their authority to debar non-responsible contractors and directing all state entities to ensure that contractors remain “responsible” throughout the term of their contracts. Second, the New York legislature recently enacted a bill to reform the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which included far-reaching provisions that allow MTA to debar any contractor that exceeds 10% of the contract cost or time for a construction project. Together, these developments indicate a move towards greater scrutiny of contractor performance, and they highlight the significant consequences of not meeting compliance and performance obligations.
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The Topsy-Turvy World of State and Local Bid Protests
Many contractors are familiar with the well-established processes of federal bid protests. Less known is the dizzying variety of procedures applicable to state and local bid protests. Each jurisdiction has its own rules — in terms of timing, protestable issues, standard of review, document production, and more. A fundamental tenet in one jurisdiction may be completely inapplicable in another.
What does that mean for a contractor looking to grow its state and local business? Be prepared: Become familiar with the rules and practices for bid protests in the relevant jurisdiction prior to the award decision. When the award decision is made, you’ll be in a better position to assess whether to protest and, if so, when and how to do it.
Here are a few issues that are often helpful to consider while preparing for a potential state or local protest:…
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Key Takeaways From The “New York Buy American Act” And Beyond
[This article was originally published in Law360 and has been modified for the blog.]
This was not an April Fools’ Day joke: The New York Buy American Act (“NY BAA”) went into effect on April 1, 2018. Signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in December 2017 and championed by state legislators on both sides of the aisle, the NY BAA amends the existing domestic content restrictions in Section 146 of the N.Y. State Finance Law and Section 2603-a of the N.Y. Public Authorities Law by adding another layer of “Buy American” requirements focused on structural iron and structural steel products used in certain construction projects.
Although Governor Cuomo has noted that this new law is intended “to support hardworking men and women, revitalize infrastructure across the state, bolster the strength of our manufacturing industries and cement our status as a global economic leader” – a sentiment in step with President Trump’s stated “Buy American” policy – the economic impact of this legislation remains to be seen. As will be discussed, this set of requirements is focused on only two categories of items (structural iron and structural steel) used on a specific set of construction projects (roads and bridges) that will be awarded by certain New York agencies or authorities during a two-year window.
Notwithstanding, the NY BAA is a noteworthy development because it further reinforces the general rallying cry behind “Buy American.” Most importantly, this new law serves as a reminder to contractors that an already cumbersome regime of federal and state domestic preferences will continue to remain complex.…
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Oregon HB 4005: New Reporting Requirements for Drug Manufacturers, Health Insurers
On Tuesday, March 13, 2018, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law House Bill 4005 (HB 4005), which imposes substantial new state reporting requirements on pharmaceutical manufacturers regarding drug pricing, including details on manufacturer-sponsored patient assistance programs. HB 4005 also imposes new reporting requirements on health insurers and establishes a temporary task force charged with developing “a strategy to create transparency for drug prices across the entire supply chain of pharmaceutical products.”
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California Law Aims to Scrutinize Drug Pricing
Over the last few weeks, much attention has been paid to California’s recently enacted SB 17, legislation that requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to report certain price increases of prescription drugs and, in some cases, provide a justification for such increases. The legislation also requires health insurers and health plans to report additional rate information to state agencies. California’s push to impose disclosure of prescription drug pricing information is part of a growing trend of proposed and enacted legislation across the country purportedly aimed at increased price transparency and control.
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