1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Guice
House Bill 655
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 31-3-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE BOARD OF PUBLIC CONTRACTORS TO MAKE INSPECTIONS OF PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION SITES TO DETERMINE IF THE CONTRACTOR HAS A CERTIFICATE OF RESPONSIBILITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 31-3-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
31-3-21. (1) It shall be unlawful for any person who does not hold a certificate of responsibility issued under this chapter, or a similar certificate issued by another state recognizing such certificate issued by the State of Mississippi, to submit a bid, enter into a contract, or otherwise engage in or continue in this state in the business of a contractor, as defined in this chapter. Any bid which is submitted without a certificate of responsibility number issued under this chapter and without that number appearing on the exterior of the bid envelope, as and if herein required, at the time designated for the opening of such bid, shall not be considered further, and the person or public agency soliciting bids shall not enter into a contract with a contractor submitting a bid in violation of this section. In addition, any person violating this section by knowingly and willfully submitting a bid for projects without holding a certificate of responsibility number issued under this chapter, as and if herein required, at the time of the submission or opening of such bid shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(2) All bids submitted for public or private projects where said bid is in excess of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) with respect to public projects and in excess of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) with respect to private projects shall contain on the outside or exterior of the envelope or container of such bid the contractor's current certificate number, and no bid shall be opened or considered unless such contractor's current certificate number appears on the outside or exterior of said envelope or container, or unless there appears a statement on the outside or exterior of such envelope or container to the effect that the bid enclosed therewith did not exceed Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) with respect to public projects or One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) with respect to private projects. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(3) In the letting of public contracts preference shall be given to resident contractors, and a nonresident bidder domiciled in a state having laws granting preference to local contractors shall be awarded Mississippi public contracts only on the same basis as the nonresident bidder's state awards contracts to Mississippi contractors bidding under similar circumstances; and resident contractors actually domiciled in Mississippi, be they corporate, individuals, or partnerships, are to be granted preference over nonresidents in awarding of contracts in the same manner and to the same extent as provided by the laws of the state of domicile of the nonresident. When a nonresident contractor submits a bid for a public project, he shall attach thereto a copy of his resident state's current law pertaining to such state's treatment of nonresident contractors. As used in this section, the term "resident contractors" includes a nonresident person, firm or corporation that has been qualified to do business in this state and has maintained a permanent full-time office in the State of Mississippi for two (2) years prior to January 1, 1986, and the subsidiaries and affiliates of such a person, firm or corporation. Any public agency awarding a contract shall promptly report to the State Tax Commission the following information:
(a) The amount of the contract.
(b) The name and address of the contractor reviewing the contract.
(c) The name and location of the project.
(4) In addition to any other penalties provided in this chapter, and upon a finding of a violation of this chapter, the State Board of Contractors may, after notice and hearing, issue an order of abatement directing the contractor to cease all actions constituting violations of this chapter until such time as the contractor complies with Mississippi state law, and to pay to the board a civil penalty to be deposited into the State General Fund of not more than three percent (3%) of the total contract being performed by the contractor.
(5) The State Board of Contractors or any agent of the board is authorized to conduct an inspection of the construction site of any contractor operating under a public or private contract subject to the provisions of this section for the purpose of determining if the contractor has the required certificate of responsibility. The board or any agent of the board shall be immune from liability while performing duties in accordance with the enforcement of the provisions of this subsection (5) of this Section 31-3-21. The board is authorized to purchase and carry director and officer liability insurance for purposes of the carrying out the provisions of this section, with the cost to be paid by the board.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.