2009 Regular Session
To: Fees, Salaries and Administration
By: Senator(s) Gordon, Butler, Davis (36th), Harden, Jackson (11th), Jackson (32nd), Jones, Jordan, Simmons
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 31-7-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE PUBLIC PURCHASING LAWS TO REDUCE THE PERIOD OF TIME FOR PUBLICATION AND BID OPENINGS FOR ANY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS UNDER THE FEDERAL AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009; TO PROVIDE THAT SUBMISSIONS OF INTENT TO LET CONTRACTS UNDER THE PUBLIC PURCHASING LAWS RECEIVED BY THE MISSISSIPPI PROCUREMENT TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR PROJECTS FUNDED BY THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT SHALL BE DISPLAYED ON A SEPARATE WEB PAGE ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC AND MAINTAINED BY THE MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY FOR THE PROGRAM; TO PROVIDE THAT IN ANY SOLICITATION FOR BIDS TO PERFORM PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION OR OTHER PUBLIC CONTRACTS FOR WHICH THE CONTRACT WILL REQUIRE INSURANCE COVERAGE IN AN AMOUNT OF NOT LESS THAN $1,000,000.00, BIDDERS WILL BE PERMITTED TO EITHER SUBMIT PROOF OF CURRENT INSURANCE COVERAGE OR DEMONSTRATE ABILITY TO OBTAIN THE REQUIRED COVERAGE AMOUNT IF THE CONTRACT IS AWARDED TO THE BIDDER; TO AMEND SECTION 7-7-211, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CORRECT AN INTERNAL REFERENCE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 31-7-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
31-7-13. All agencies and governing authorities shall purchase their commodities and printing; contract for garbage collection or disposal; contract for solid waste collection or disposal; contract for sewage collection or disposal; contract for public construction; and contract for rentals as herein provided.
(a) Bidding procedure for purchases not over $5,000.00. Purchases which do not involve an expenditure of more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), exclusive of freight or shipping charges, may be made without advertising or otherwise requesting competitive bids. However, nothing contained in this paragraph (a) shall be construed to prohibit any agency or governing authority from establishing procedures which require competitive bids on purchases of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or less.
(b) Bidding procedure for purchases over $5,000.00 but not over $50,000.00. Purchases which involve an expenditure of more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) but not more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), exclusive of freight and shipping charges may be made from the lowest and best bidder without publishing or posting advertisement for bids, provided at least two (2) competitive written bids have been obtained. Any state agency or community/junior college purchasing commodities or procuring construction pursuant to this paragraph (b) may authorize its purchasing agent, or his designee, to accept the lowest competitive written bid under Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00). Any governing authority purchasing commodities pursuant to this paragraph (b) may authorize its purchasing agent, or his designee, with regard to governing authorities other than counties, or its purchase clerk, or his designee, with regard to counties, to accept the lowest and best competitive written bid. Such authorization shall be made in writing by the governing authority and shall be maintained on file in the primary office of the agency and recorded in the official minutes of the governing authority, as appropriate. The purchasing agent or the purchase clerk, or their designee, as the case may be, and not the governing authority, shall be liable for any penalties and/or damages as may be imposed by law for any act or omission of the purchasing agent or purchase clerk, or their designee, constituting a violation of law in accepting any bid without approval by the governing authority. The term "competitive written bid" shall mean a bid submitted on a bid form furnished by the buying agency or governing authority and signed by authorized personnel representing the vendor, or a bid submitted on a vendor's letterhead or identifiable bid form and signed by authorized personnel representing the vendor. "Competitive" shall mean that the bids are developed based upon comparable identification of the needs and are developed independently and without knowledge of other bids or prospective bids. Any bid item for construction in excess of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) shall be broken down by components to provide detail of component description and pricing. These details shall be submitted with the written bids and become part of the bid evaluation criteria. Bids may be submitted by facsimile, electronic mail or other generally accepted method of information distribution. Bids submitted by electronic transmission shall not require the signature of the vendor's representative unless required by agencies or governing authorities.
(c) Bidding procedure for purchases over $50,000.00.
(i) Publication requirement.
1. Purchases which involve an expenditure of more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), exclusive of freight and shipping charges, may be made from the lowest and best bidder after advertising for competitive bids once each week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a regular newspaper published in the county or municipality in which such agency or governing authority is located. However, all American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects in excess of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) shall be bid.
2. The purchasing entity may designate the method by which the bids will be received, including, but not limited to, bids sealed in an envelope, bids received electronically in a secure system, bids received via a reverse auction, or bids received by any other method that promotes open competition and has been approved by the Office of Purchasing and Travel. The provisions of this item 2 of subparagraph (i) shall be repealed on July 1, 2011.
3. The date as published for the bid opening shall not be less than seven (7) working days after the last published notice; however, if the purchase involves a construction project in which the estimated cost is in excess of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), such bids shall not be opened in less than fifteen (15) working days after the last notice is published and the notice for the purchase of such construction shall be published once each week for two (2) consecutive weeks. However, all American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects in excess of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) shall be bid. For any projects in excess of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, publication shall be made one (1) time and the bid opening for construction projects shall not be less than ten (10) working days after the date of the published notice. The notice of intention to let contracts or purchase equipment shall state the time and place at which bids shall be received, list the contracts to be made or types of equipment or supplies to be purchased, and, if all plans and/or specifications are not published, refer to the plans and/or specifications on file. If there is no newspaper published in the county or municipality, then such notice shall be given by posting same at the courthouse, or for municipalities at the city hall, and at two (2) other public places in the county or municipality, and also by publication once each week for two (2) consecutive weeks in some newspaper having a general circulation in the county or municipality in the above provided manner. On the same date that the notice is submitted to the newspaper for publication, the agency or governing authority involved shall mail written notice to, or provide electronic notification to the main office of the Mississippi Procurement Technical Assistance Program under the Mississippi Development Authority that contains the same information as that in the published notice. Submissions received by the Mississippi Procurement Technical Assistance Program for projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act shall be displayed on a separate and unique Internet Web page accessible to the public and maintained by the Mississippi Development Authority for the Mississippi Procurement Technical Assistance Program. Those American Recovery and Reinvestment Act related submissions shall be publicly posted within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt by the Mississippi Development Authority and the bid opening shall not occur until the submission has been posted for ten (10) consecutive days. The Department of Finance and Administration shall maintain information regarding contracts and other expenditures from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, on a unique Internet Web page accessible to the public. The Department of Finance and Administration shall promulgate rules regarding format, content and deadlines, unless otherwise specified by law, of the posting of award notices, contract execution and subsequent amendments, links to the contract documents, expenditures against the awarded contracts and general expenditures of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Within one (1) working day of the contract award, the agency or governing authority shall post to the designated Web page maintained by the Department of Finance and Administration, notice of the award, including the award recipient, the contract amount, and a brief summary of the contract in accordance with rules promulgated by the department. Within one (1) working day of the contract execution, the agency or governing authority shall post to the designated Web page maintained by the Department of Finance and Administration a summary of the executed contract and make a copy of the appropriately redacted contract documents available for linking to the designated Web page in accordance with the rules promulgated by the department. The information provided by the agency or governing authority shall be posted to the Web page for the duration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding or until the project is completed, whichever is longer.
(ii) Bidding process amendment procedure. If all plans and/or specifications are published in the notification, then the plans and/or specifications may not be amended. If all plans and/or specifications are not published in the notification, then amendments to the plans/specifications, bid opening date, bid opening time and place may be made, provided that the agency or governing authority maintains a list of all prospective bidders who are known to have received a copy of the bid documents and all such prospective bidders are sent copies of all amendments. This notification of amendments may be made via mail, facsimile, electronic mail or other generally accepted method of information distribution. No addendum to bid specifications may be issued within two (2) working days of the time established for the receipt of bids unless such addendum also amends the bid opening to a date not less than five (5) working days after the date of the addendum.
(iii) Filing requirement. In all cases involving governing authorities, before the notice shall be published or posted, the plans or specifications for the construction or equipment being sought shall be filed with the clerk of the board of the governing authority. In addition to these requirements, a bid file shall be established which shall indicate those vendors to whom such solicitations and specifications were issued, and such file shall also contain such information as is pertinent to the bid.
(iv) Specification restrictions.
1. Specifications pertinent to such bidding shall be written so as not to exclude comparable equipment of domestic manufacture. However, if valid justification is presented, the Department of Finance and Administration or the board of a governing authority may approve a request for specific equipment necessary to perform a specific job. Further, such justification, when placed on the minutes of the board of a governing authority, may serve as authority for that governing authority to write specifications to require a specific item of equipment needed to perform a specific job. In addition to these requirements, from and after July 1, 1990, vendors of relocatable classrooms and the specifications for the purchase of such relocatable classrooms published by local school boards shall meet all pertinent regulations of the State Board of Education, including prior approval of such bid by the State Department of Education.
2. Specifications for construction projects may include an allowance for commodities, equipment, furniture, construction materials or systems in which prospective bidders are instructed to include in their bids specified amounts for such items so long as the allowance items are acquired by the vendor in a commercially reasonable manner and approved by the agency/governing authority. Such acquisitions shall not be made to circumvent the public purchasing laws.
(v) Agencies and governing authorities may establish secure procedures by which bids may be submitted via electronic means.
(d) Lowest and best bid decision procedure.
(i) Decision procedure. Purchases may be made from the lowest and best bidder. In determining the lowest and best bid, freight and shipping charges shall be included. Life-cycle costing, total cost bids, warranties, guaranteed buy-back provisions and other relevant provisions may be included in the best bid calculation. All best bid procedures for state agencies must be in compliance with regulations established by the Department of Finance and Administration. If any governing authority accepts a bid other than the lowest bid actually submitted, it shall place on its minutes detailed calculations and narrative summary showing that the accepted bid was determined to be the lowest and best bid, including the dollar amount of the accepted bid and the dollar amount of the lowest bid. No agency or governing authority shall accept a bid based on items not included in the specifications.
(ii) Decision procedure for Certified Purchasing Offices. In addition to the decision procedure set forth in paragraph (d)(i), Certified Purchasing Offices may also use the following procedure: Purchases may be made from the bidder offering the best value. In determining the best value bid, freight and shipping charges shall be included. Life-cycle costing, total cost bids, warranties, guaranteed buy-back provisions, documented previous experience, training costs and other relevant provisions may be included in the best value calculation. This provision shall authorize Certified Purchasing Offices to utilize a Request For Proposals (RFP) process when purchasing commodities. All best value procedures for state agencies must be in compliance with regulations established by the Department of Finance and Administration. No agency or governing authority shall accept a bid based on items or criteria not included in the specifications.
(iii) Construction project negotiations authority. If the lowest and best bid is not more than ten percent (10%) above the amount of funds allocated for a public construction or renovation project, then the agency or governing authority shall be permitted to negotiate with the lowest bidder in order to enter into a contract for an amount not to exceed the funds allocated.
(e) Lease-purchase authorization. For the purposes of this section, the term "equipment" shall mean equipment, furniture and, if applicable, associated software and other applicable direct costs associated with the acquisition. Any lease-purchase of equipment which an agency is not required to lease-purchase under the master lease-purchase program pursuant to Section 31-7-10 and any lease-purchase of equipment which a governing authority elects to lease-purchase may be acquired by a lease-purchase agreement under this paragraph (e). Lease-purchase financing may also be obtained from the vendor or from a third-party source after having solicited and obtained at least two (2) written competitive bids, as defined in paragraph (b) of this section, for such financing without advertising for such bids. Solicitation for the bids for financing may occur before or after acceptance of bids for the purchase of such equipment or, where no such bids for purchase are required, at any time before the purchase thereof. No such lease-purchase agreement shall be for an annual rate of interest which is greater than the overall maximum interest rate to maturity on general obligation indebtedness permitted under Section 75-17-101, and the term of such lease-purchase agreement shall not exceed the useful life of equipment covered thereby as determined according to the upper limit of the asset depreciation range (ADR) guidelines for the Class Life Asset Depreciation Range System established by the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to the United States Internal Revenue Code and regulations thereunder as in effect on December 31, 1980, or comparable depreciation guidelines with respect to any equipment not covered by ADR guidelines. Any lease-purchase agreement entered into pursuant to this paragraph (e) may contain any of the terms and conditions which a master lease-purchase agreement may contain under the provisions of Section 31-7-10(5), and shall contain an annual allocation dependency clause substantially similar to that set forth in Section 31-7-10(8). Each agency or governing authority entering into a lease-purchase transaction pursuant to this paragraph (e) shall maintain with respect to each such lease-purchase transaction the same information as required to be maintained by the Department of Finance and Administration pursuant to Section 31-7-10(13). However, nothing contained in this section shall be construed to permit agencies to acquire items of equipment with a total acquisition cost in the aggregate of less than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) by a single lease-purchase transaction. All equipment, and the purchase thereof by any lessor, acquired by lease-purchase under this paragraph and all lease-purchase payments with respect thereto shall be exempt from all Mississippi sales, use and ad valorem taxes. Interest paid on any lease-purchase agreement under this section shall be exempt from State of Mississippi income taxation.
(f) Alternate bid authorization. When necessary to ensure ready availability of commodities for public works and the timely completion of public projects, no more than two (2) alternate bids may be accepted by a governing authority for commodities. No purchases may be made through use of such alternate bids procedure unless the lowest and best bidder cannot deliver the commodities contained in his bid. In that event, purchases of such commodities may be made from one (1) of the bidders whose bid was accepted as an alternate.
(g) Construction contract change authorization. In the event a determination is made by an agency or governing authority after a construction contract is let that changes or modifications to the original contract are necessary or would better serve the purpose of the agency or the governing authority, such agency or governing authority may, in its discretion, order such changes pertaining to the construction that are necessary under the circumstances without the necessity of further public bids; provided that such change shall be made in a commercially reasonable manner and shall not be made to circumvent the public purchasing statutes. In addition to any other authorized person, the architect or engineer hired by an agency or governing authority with respect to any public construction contract shall have the authority, when granted by an agency or governing authority, to authorize changes or modifications to the original contract without the necessity of prior approval of the agency or governing authority when any such change or modification is less than one percent (1%) of the total contract amount. The agency or governing authority may limit the number, manner or frequency of such emergency changes or modifications.
(h) Petroleum purchase alternative. In addition to other methods of purchasing authorized in this chapter, when any agency or governing authority shall have a need for gas, diesel fuel, oils and/or other petroleum products in excess of the amount set forth in paragraph (a) of this section, such agency or governing authority may purchase the commodity after having solicited and obtained at least two (2) competitive written bids, as defined in paragraph (b) of this section. If two (2) competitive written bids are not obtained, the entity shall comply with the procedures set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. In the event any agency or governing authority shall have advertised for bids for the purchase of gas, diesel fuel, oils and other petroleum products and coal and no acceptable bids can be obtained, such agency or governing authority is authorized and directed to enter into any negotiations necessary to secure the lowest and best contract available for the purchase of such commodities.
(i) Road construction petroleum products price adjustment clause authorization. Any agency or governing authority authorized to enter into contracts for the construction, maintenance, surfacing or repair of highways, roads or streets, may include in its bid proposal and contract documents a price adjustment clause with relation to the cost to the contractor, including taxes, based upon an industry-wide cost index, of petroleum products including asphalt used in the performance or execution of the contract or in the production or manufacture of materials for use in such performance. Such industry-wide index shall be established and published monthly by the Mississippi Department of Transportation with a copy thereof to be mailed, upon request, to the clerks of the governing authority of each municipality and the clerks of each board of supervisors throughout the state. The price adjustment clause shall be based on the cost of such petroleum products only and shall not include any additional profit or overhead as part of the adjustment. The bid proposals or document contract shall contain the basis and methods of adjusting unit prices for the change in the cost of such petroleum products.
(j) State agency emergency purchase procedure. If the governing board or the executive head, or his designee, of any agency of the state shall determine that an emergency exists in regard to the purchase of any commodities or repair contracts, so that the delay incident to giving opportunity for competitive bidding would be detrimental to the interests of the state, then the provisions herein for competitive bidding shall not apply and the head of such agency shall be authorized to make the purchase or repair. Total purchases so made shall only be for the purpose of meeting needs created by the emergency situation. In the event such executive head is responsible to an agency board, at the meeting next following the emergency purchase, documentation of the purchase, including a description of the commodity purchased, the purchase price thereof and the nature of the emergency shall be presented to the board and placed on the minutes of the board of such agency. The head of such agency, or his designee, shall, at the earliest possible date following such emergency purchase, file with the Department of Finance and Administration (i) a statement explaining the conditions and circumstances of the emergency, which shall include a detailed description of the events leading up to the situation and the negative impact to the entity if the purchase is made following the statutory requirements set forth in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of this section, and (ii) a certified copy of the appropriate minutes of the board of such agency, if applicable.
(k) Governing authority emergency purchase procedure. If the governing authority, or the governing authority acting through its designee, shall determine that an emergency exists in regard to the purchase of any commodities or repair contracts, so that the delay incident to giving opportunity for competitive bidding would be detrimental to the interest of the governing authority, then the provisions herein for competitive bidding shall not apply and any officer or agent of such governing authority having general or special authority therefor in making such purchase or repair shall approve the bill presented therefor, and he shall certify in writing thereon from whom such purchase was made, or with whom such a repair contract was made. At the board meeting next following the emergency purchase or repair contract, documentation of the purchase or repair contract, including a description of the commodity purchased, the price thereof and the nature of the emergency shall be presented to the board and shall be placed on the minutes of the board of such governing authority.
(l) Hospital purchase, lease-purchase and lease authorization.
(i) The commissioners or board of trustees of any public hospital may contract with such lowest and best bidder for the purchase or lease-purchase of any commodity under a contract of purchase or lease-purchase agreement whose obligatory payment terms do not exceed five (5) years.
(ii) In addition to the authority granted in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph (l), the commissioners or board of trustees is authorized to enter into contracts for the lease of equipment or services, or both, which it considers necessary for the proper care of patients if, in its opinion, it is not financially feasible to purchase the necessary equipment or services. Any such contract for the lease of equipment or services executed by the commissioners or board shall not exceed a maximum of five (5) years' duration and shall include a cancellation clause based on unavailability of funds. If such cancellation clause is exercised, there shall be no further liability on the part of the lessee. Any such contract for the lease of equipment or services executed on behalf of the commissioners or board that complies with the provisions of this subparagraph (ii) shall be excepted from the bid requirements set forth in this section.
(m) Exceptions from bidding requirements. Excepted from bid requirements are:
(i) Purchasing agreements approved by department. Purchasing agreements, contracts and maximum price regulations executed or approved by the Department of Finance and Administration.
(ii) Outside equipment repairs. Repairs to equipment, when such repairs are made by repair facilities in the private sector; however, engines, transmissions, rear axles and/or other such components shall not be included in this exemption when replaced as a complete unit instead of being repaired and the need for such total component replacement is known before disassembly of the component; however, invoices identifying the equipment, specific repairs made, parts identified by number and name, supplies used in such repairs, and the number of hours of labor and costs therefor shall be required for the payment for such repairs.
(iii) In-house equipment repairs. Purchases of parts for repairs to equipment, when such repairs are made by personnel of the agency or governing authority; however, entire assemblies, such as engines or transmissions, shall not be included in this exemption when the entire assembly is being replaced instead of being repaired.
(iv) Raw gravel or dirt. Raw unprocessed deposits of gravel or fill dirt which are to be removed and transported by the purchaser.
(v) Governmental equipment auctions. Motor vehicles or other equipment purchased from a federal agency or authority, another governing authority or state agency of the State of Mississippi, or any governing authority or state agency of another state at a public auction held for the purpose of disposing of such vehicles or other equipment. Any purchase by a governing authority under the exemption authorized by this subparagraph (v) shall require advance authorization spread upon the minutes of the governing authority to include the listing of the item or items authorized to be purchased and the maximum bid authorized to be paid for each item or items.
(vi) Intergovernmental sales and transfers. Purchases, sales, transfers or trades by governing authorities or state agencies when such purchases, sales, transfers or trades are made by a private treaty agreement or through means of negotiation, from any federal agency or authority, another governing authority or state agency of the State of Mississippi, or any state agency or governing authority of another state. Nothing in this section shall permit such purchases through public auction except as provided for in subparagraph (v) of this section. It is the intent of this section to allow governmental entities to dispose of and/or purchase commodities from other governmental entities at a price that is agreed to by both parties. This shall allow for purchases and/or sales at prices which may be determined to be below the market value if the selling entity determines that the sale at below market value is in the best interest of the taxpayers of the state. Governing authorities shall place the terms of the agreement and any justification on the minutes, and state agencies shall obtain approval from the Department of Finance and Administration, prior to releasing or taking possession of the commodities.
(vii) Perishable supplies or food. Perishable supplies or food purchased for use in connection with hospitals, the school lunch programs, homemaking programs and for the feeding of county or municipal prisoners.
(viii) Single source items. Noncompetitive items available from one (1) source only. In connection with the purchase of noncompetitive items only available from one (1) source, a certification of the conditions and circumstances requiring the purchase shall be filed by the agency with the Department of Finance and Administration and by the governing authority with the board of the governing authority. Upon receipt of that certification the Department of Finance and Administration or the board of the governing authority, as the case may be, may, in writing, authorize the purchase, which authority shall be noted on the minutes of the body at the next regular meeting thereafter. In those situations, a governing authority is not required to obtain the approval of the Department of Finance and Administration.
(ix) Waste disposal facility construction contracts. Construction of incinerators and other facilities for disposal of solid wastes in which products either generated therein, such as steam, or recovered therefrom, such as materials for recycling, are to be sold or otherwise disposed of; however, in constructing such facilities, a governing authority or agency shall publicly issue requests for proposals, advertised for in the same manner as provided herein for seeking bids for public construction projects, concerning the design, construction, ownership, operation and/or maintenance of such facilities, wherein such requests for proposals when issued shall contain terms and conditions relating to price, financial responsibility, technology, environmental compatibility, legal responsibilities and such other matters as are determined by the governing authority or agency to be appropriate for inclusion; and after responses to the request for proposals have been duly received, the governing authority or agency may select the most qualified proposal or proposals on the basis of price, technology and other relevant factors and from such proposals, but not limited to the terms thereof, negotiate and enter contracts with one or more of the persons or firms submitting proposals.
(x) Hospital group purchase contracts. Supplies, commodities and equipment purchased by hospitals through group purchase programs pursuant to Section 31-7-38.
(xi) Information technology products. Purchases of information technology products made by governing authorities under the provisions of purchase schedules, or contracts executed or approved by the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services and designated for use by governing authorities.
(xii) Energy efficiency services and equipment. Energy efficiency services and equipment acquired by school districts, community and junior colleges, institutions of higher learning and state agencies or other applicable governmental entities on a shared-savings, lease or lease-purchase basis pursuant to Section 31-7-14.
(xiii) Municipal electrical utility system fuel. Purchases of coal and/or natural gas by municipally owned electric power generating systems that have the capacity to use both coal and natural gas for the generation of electric power.
(xiv) Library books and other reference materials. Purchases by libraries or for libraries of books and periodicals; processed film, video cassette tapes, filmstrips and slides; recorded audio tapes, cassettes and diskettes; and any such items as would be used for teaching, research or other information distribution; however, equipment such as projectors, recorders, audio or video equipment, and monitor televisions are not exempt under this subparagraph.
(xv) Unmarked vehicles. Purchases of unmarked vehicles when such purchases are made in accordance with purchasing regulations adopted by the Department of Finance and Administration pursuant to Section 31-7-9(2).
(xvi) Election ballots. Purchases of ballots printed pursuant to Section 23-15-351.
(xvii) Multichannel interactive video systems. From and after July 1, 1990, contracts by Mississippi Authority for Educational Television with any private educational institution or private nonprofit organization whose purposes are educational in regard to the construction, purchase, lease or lease-purchase of facilities and equipment and the employment of personnel for providing multichannel interactive video systems (ITSF) in the school districts of this state.
(xviii) Purchases of prison industry products. From and after January 1, 1991, purchases made by state agencies or governing authorities involving any item that is manufactured, processed, grown or produced from the state's prison industries.
(xix) Undercover operations equipment. Purchases of surveillance equipment or any other high-tech equipment to be used by law enforcement agents in undercover operations, provided that any such purchase shall be in compliance with regulations established by the Department of Finance and Administration.
(xx) Junior college books for rent. Purchases by community or junior colleges of textbooks which are obtained for the purpose of renting such books to students as part of a book service system.
(xxi) Certain school district purchases. Purchases of commodities made by school districts from vendors with which any levying authority of the school district, as defined in Section 37-57-1, has contracted through competitive bidding procedures for purchases of the same commodities.
(xxii) Garbage, solid waste and sewage contracts. Contracts for garbage collection or disposal, contracts for solid waste collection or disposal and contracts for sewage collection or disposal.
(xxiii) Municipal water tank maintenance contracts. Professional maintenance program contracts for the repair or maintenance of municipal water tanks, which provide professional services needed to maintain municipal water storage tanks for a fixed annual fee for a duration of two (2) or more years.
(xxiv) Purchases of Mississippi Industries for the Blind products. Purchases made by state agencies or governing authorities involving any item that is manufactured, processed or produced by the Mississippi Industries for the Blind.
(xxv) Purchases of state-adopted textbooks. Purchases of state-adopted textbooks by public school districts.
(xxvi) Certain purchases under the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Act. Contracts entered into pursuant to the provisions of Section 57-75-9(2) and (3).
(xxvii) Used heavy or specialized machinery or equipment for installation of soil and water conservation practices purchased at auction. Used heavy or specialized machinery or equipment used for the installation and implementation of soil and water conservation practices or measures purchased subject to the restrictions provided in Sections 69-27-331 through 69-27-341. Any purchase by the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission under the exemption authorized by this subparagraph shall require advance authorization spread upon the minutes of the commission to include the listing of the item or items authorized to be purchased and the maximum bid authorized to be paid for each item or items.
(xxviii) Hospital lease of equipment or services. Leases by hospitals of equipment or services if the leases are in compliance with paragraph (l)(ii).
(xxix) Purchases made pursuant to qualified cooperative purchasing agreements. Purchases made by certified purchasing offices of state agencies or governing authorities under cooperative purchasing agreements previously approved by the Office of Purchasing and Travel and established by or for any municipality, county, parish or state government or the federal government, provided that the notification to potential contractors includes a clause that sets forth the availability of the cooperative purchasing agreement to other governmental entities. Such purchases shall only be made if the use of the cooperative purchasing agreements is determined to be in the best interest of the governmental entity.
(xxx) School yearbooks. Purchases of school yearbooks by state agencies or governing authorities; provided, however, that state agencies and governing authorities shall use for these purchases the RFP process as set forth in the Mississippi Procurement Manual adopted by the Office of Purchasing and Travel.
(xxxi) Design-build method and dual-phase design-build method of contracting. Contracts entered into under the provisions of Section 31-7-13.1, 37-101-44 or 65-1-85.
(xxxii) Toll roads and bridge construction projects. Contracts entered into under the provisions of Section 65-43-1 or 65-43-3.
(n) Term contract authorization. All contracts for the purchase of:
(i) All contracts for the purchase of commodities, equipment and public construction (including, but not limited to, repair and maintenance), may be let for periods of not more than sixty (60) months in advance, subject to applicable statutory provisions prohibiting the letting of contracts during specified periods near the end of terms of office. Term contracts for a period exceeding twenty-four (24) months shall also be subject to ratification or cancellation by governing authority boards taking office subsequent to the governing authority board entering the contract.
(ii) Bid proposals and contracts may include price adjustment clauses with relation to the cost to the contractor based upon a nationally published industry-wide or nationally published and recognized cost index. The cost index used in a price adjustment clause shall be determined by the Department of Finance and Administration for the state agencies and by the governing board for governing authorities. The bid proposal and contract documents utilizing a price adjustment clause shall contain the basis and method of adjusting unit prices for the change in the cost of such commodities, equipment and public construction.
(o) Purchase law violation prohibition and vendor penalty. No contract or purchase as herein authorized shall be made for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this section requiring competitive bids, nor shall it be lawful for any person or concern to submit individual invoices for amounts within those authorized for a contract or purchase where the actual value of the contract or commodity purchased exceeds the authorized amount and the invoices therefor are split so as to appear to be authorized as purchases for which competitive bids are not required. Submission of such invoices shall constitute a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by imprisonment for thirty (30) days in the county jail, or both such fine and imprisonment. In addition, the claim or claims submitted shall be forfeited.
(p) Electrical utility petroleum-based equipment purchase procedure. When in response to a proper advertisement therefor, no bid firm as to price is submitted to an electric utility for power transformers, distribution transformers, power breakers, reclosers or other articles containing a petroleum product, the electric utility may accept the lowest and best bid therefor although the price is not firm.
(q) Fuel management system bidding procedure. Any governing authority or agency of the state shall, before contracting for the services and products of a fuel management or fuel access system, enter into negotiations with not fewer than two (2) sellers of fuel management or fuel access systems for competitive written bids to provide the services and products for the systems. In the event that the governing authority or agency cannot locate two (2) sellers of such systems or cannot obtain bids from two (2) sellers of such systems, it shall show proof that it made a diligent, good-faith effort to locate and negotiate with two (2) sellers of such systems. Such proof shall include, but not be limited to, publications of a request for proposals and letters soliciting negotiations and bids. For purposes of this paragraph (q), a fuel management or fuel access system is an automated system of acquiring fuel for vehicles as well as management reports detailing fuel use by vehicles and drivers, and the term "competitive written bid" shall have the meaning as defined in paragraph (b) of this section. Governing authorities and agencies shall be exempt from this process when contracting for the services and products of * * * fuel management or fuel access systems under the terms of a state contract established by the Office of Purchasing and Travel.
(r) Solid waste contract proposal procedure. Before entering into any contract for garbage collection or disposal, contract for solid waste collection or disposal or contract for sewage collection or disposal, which involves an expenditure of more than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00), a governing authority or agency shall issue publicly a request for proposals concerning the specifications for such services which shall be advertised for in the same manner as provided in this section for seeking bids for purchases which involve an expenditure of more than the amount provided in paragraph (c) of this section. Any request for proposals when issued shall contain terms and conditions relating to price, financial responsibility, technology, legal responsibilities and other relevant factors as are determined by the governing authority or agency to be appropriate for inclusion; all factors determined relevant by the governing authority or agency or required by this paragraph (r) shall be duly included in the advertisement to elicit proposals. After responses to the request for proposals have been duly received, the governing authority or agency shall select the most qualified proposal or proposals on the basis of price, technology and other relevant factors and from such proposals, but not limited to the terms thereof, negotiate and enter contracts with one or more of the persons or firms submitting proposals. If the governing authority or agency deems none of the proposals to be qualified or otherwise acceptable, the request for proposals process may be reinitiated. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this paragraph, where a county with at least thirty-five thousand (35,000) nor more than forty thousand (40,000) population, according to the 1990 federal decennial census, owns or operates a solid waste landfill, the governing authorities of any other county or municipality may contract with the governing authorities of the county owning or operating the landfill, pursuant to a resolution duly adopted and spread upon the minutes of each governing authority involved, for garbage or solid waste collection or disposal services through contract negotiations.
(s) Minority set-aside authorization. Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, any agency or governing authority, by order placed on its minutes, may, in its discretion, set aside not more than twenty percent (20%) of its anticipated annual expenditures for the purchase of commodities from minority businesses; however, all such set-aside purchases shall comply with all purchasing regulations promulgated by the Department of Finance and Administration and shall be subject to bid requirements under this section. Set-aside purchases for which competitive bids are required shall be made from the lowest and best minority business bidder. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "minority business" means a business which is owned by a majority of persons who are United States citizens or permanent resident aliens (as defined by the Immigration and Naturalization Service) of the United States, and who are Asian, Black, Hispanic or Native American, according to the following definitions:
(i) "Asian" means persons having origins in any of the original people of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands.
(ii) "Black" means persons having origins in any black racial group of Africa.
(iii) "Hispanic" means persons of Spanish or Portuguese culture with origins in Mexico, South or Central America, or the Caribbean Islands, regardless of race.
(iv) "Native American" means persons having origins in any of the original people of North America, including American Indians, Eskimos and Aleuts.
(t) Construction punch list restriction. The architect, engineer or other representative designated by the agency or governing authority that is contracting for public construction or renovation may prepare and submit to the contractor only one (1) preliminary punch list of items that do not meet the contract requirements at the time of substantial completion and one (1) final list immediately before final completion and final payment.
(u) Procurement of construction services by state institutions of higher learning. Contracts for privately financed construction of auxiliary facilities on the campus of a state institution of higher learning may be awarded by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to the lowest and best bidder, where sealed bids are solicited, or to the offeror whose proposal is determined to represent the best value to the citizens of the State of Mississippi, where requests for proposals are solicited.
(v) Insurability of bidders for public construction or other public contracts. In any solicitation for bids to perform public construction or other public contracts to which this section applies including, but not limited to, contracts for repair and maintenance, for which the contract will require insurance coverage in an amount of not less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), bidders shall be permitted to either submit proof of current insurance coverage in the specified amount or demonstrate ability to obtain the required coverage amount of insurance if the contract is awarded to the bidder. Proof of insurance coverage shall be submitted within five (5) business days from bid acceptance.
(w) Purchase authorization clarification. Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing any purchase not authorized by law.
SECTION 2. Section 7-7-211, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
7-7-211. The department shall have the power and it shall be its duty:
(a) To identify and define for all public offices of the state and its subdivisions generally accepted accounting principles as promulgated by nationally recognized professional organizations and to consult with the State Fiscal Officer in the prescription and implementation of accounting rules and regulations;
(b) To provide best practices, for all public offices of regional and local subdivisions of the state, systems of accounting, budgeting and reporting financial facts relating to said offices in conformity with legal requirements and with generally accepted accounting principles as promulgated by nationally recognized professional organizations; to assist such subdivisions in need of assistance in the installation of such systems; to revise such systems when deemed necessary, and to report to the Legislature at periodic times the extent to which each office is maintaining such systems, along with such recommendations to the Legislature for improvement as seem desirable;
(c) To study and analyze existing managerial policies, methods, procedures, duties and services of the various state departments and institutions upon written request of the Governor, the Legislature or any committee or other body empowered by the Legislature to make such request to determine whether and where operations can be eliminated, combined, simplified and improved;
(d) To postaudit each year and, when deemed necessary, preaudit and investigate the financial affairs of the departments, institutions, boards, commissions or other agencies of state government, as part of the publication of a comprehensive annual financial report for the State of Mississippi. In complying with the requirements of this paragraph, the department shall have the authority to conduct all necessary audit procedures on an interim and year-end basis;
(e) To postaudit and, when deemed necessary, preaudit and investigate separately the financial affairs of (i) the offices, boards and commissions of county governments and any departments and institutions thereof and therein; (ii) public school districts, departments of education and junior college districts; and (iii) any other local offices or agencies which share revenues derived from taxes or fees imposed by the State Legislature or receive grants from revenues collected by governmental divisions of the state; the cost of such audits, investigations or other services to be paid as follows: Such part shall be paid by the state from appropriations made by the Legislature for the operation of the State Department of Audit as may exceed the sum of Thirty Dollars ($30.00) per man hour for the services of each staff person engaged in performing the audit or other service, which sum shall be paid by the county, district, department, institution or other agency audited out of its general fund or any other available funds from which such payment is not prohibited by law;
(f) To postaudit and, when deemed necessary, preaudit and investigate the financial affairs of the levee boards; agencies created by the Legislature or by executive order of the Governor; profit or nonprofit business entities administering programs financed by funds flowing through the State Treasury or through any of the agencies of the state, or its subdivisions; and all other public bodies supported by funds derived in part or wholly from public funds, except municipalities which annually submit an audit prepared by a qualified certified public accountant using methods and procedures prescribed by the department;
(g) To make written demand, when necessary, for the recovery of any amounts representing public funds improperly withheld, misappropriated and/or otherwise illegally expended by an officer, employee or administrative body of any state, county or other public office, and/or for the recovery of the value of any public property disposed of in an unlawful manner by a public officer, employee or administrative body, such demands to be made (i) upon the person or persons liable for such amounts and upon the surety on official bond thereof, and/or (ii) upon any individual, partnership, corporation or association to whom the illegal expenditure was made or with whom the unlawful disposition of public property was made, if such individual, partnership, corporation or association knew or had reason to know through the exercising of reasonable diligence that the expenditure was illegal or the disposition unlawful. Such demand shall be premised on competent evidence, which shall include at least one (1) of the following: (i) sworn statements, (ii) written documentation, (iii) physical evidence, or (iv) reports and findings of government or other law enforcement agencies. Other provisions notwithstanding, a demand letter issued pursuant to this paragraph shall remain confidential by the State Auditor until the individual against whom the demand letter is being filed has been served with a copy of such demand letter. If, however, such individual cannot be notified within fifteen (15) days using reasonable means and due diligence, such notification shall be made to the individual's bonding company, if he or she is bonded. Each such demand shall be paid into the proper treasury of the state, county or other public body through the office of the department in the amount demanded within thirty (30) days from the date thereof, together with interest thereon in the sum of one percent (1%) per month from the date such amount or amounts were improperly withheld, misappropriated and/or otherwise illegally expended. In the event, however, such person or persons or such surety shall refuse, neglect or otherwise fail to pay the amount demanded and the interest due thereon within the allotted thirty (30) days, the State Auditor shall have the authority and it shall be his duty to institute suit, and the Attorney General shall prosecute the same in any court of the state to the end that there shall be recovered the total of such amounts from the person or persons and surety on official bond named therein; and the amounts so recovered shall be paid into the proper treasury of the state, county or other public body through the State Auditor. In any case where written demand is issued to a surety on the official bond of such person or persons and the surety refuses, neglects or otherwise fails within one hundred twenty (120) days to either pay the amount demanded and the interest due thereon or to give the State Auditor a written response with specific reasons for nonpayment, then the surety shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount of twelve percent (12%) of the bond, not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), to be deposited into the State General Fund;
(h) To investigate any alleged or suspected violation of the laws of the state by any officer or employee of the state, county or other public office in the purchase, sale or the use of any supplies, services, equipment or other property belonging thereto; and in such investigation to do any and all things necessary to procure evidence sufficient either to prove or disprove the existence of such alleged or suspected violations. The Department of Investigation of the State Department of Audit may investigate, for the purpose of prosecution, any suspected criminal violation of the provisions of this chapter. For the purpose of administration and enforcement of this chapter, the enforcement employees of the Department of Investigation of the State Department of Audit have the powers of a law enforcement officer of this state, and shall be empowered to make arrests and to serve and execute search warrants and other valid legal process anywhere within the State of Mississippi. All enforcement employees of the Department of Investigation of the State Department of Audit hired on or after July 1, 1993, shall be required to complete the Law Enforcement Officers Training Program and shall meet the standards of the program;
(i) To issue subpoenas, with the approval of, and returnable to, a judge of a chancery or circuit court, in termtime or in vacation, to examine the records, documents or other evidence of persons, firms, corporations or any other entities insofar as such records, documents or other evidence relate to dealings with any state, county or other public entity. The circuit or chancery judge must serve the county in which the records, documents or other evidence is located; or where all or part of the transaction or transactions occurred which are the subject of the subpoena;
(j) In any instances in which the State Auditor is or shall be authorized or required to examine or audit, whether preaudit or postaudit, any books, ledgers, accounts or other records of the affairs of any public hospital owned or owned and operated by one or more political subdivisions or parts thereof or any combination thereof, or any school district, including activity funds thereof, it shall be sufficient compliance therewith, in the discretion of the State Auditor, that such examination or audit be made from the report of any audit or other examination certified by a certified public accountant and prepared by or under the supervision of such certified public accountant. Such audits shall be made in accordance with generally accepted standards of auditing, with the use of an audit program prepared by the State Auditor, and final reports of such audits shall conform to the format prescribed by the State Auditor. All files, working papers, notes, correspondence and all other data compiled during the course of the audit shall be available, without cost, to the State Auditor for examination and abstracting during the normal business hours of any business day. The expense of such certified reports shall be borne by the respective hospital, or any available school district funds other than minimum program funds, subject to examination or audit. The State Auditor shall not be bound by such certified reports and may, in his or their discretion, conduct such examination or audit from the books, ledgers, accounts or other records involved as may be appropriate and authorized by law;
(k) The State Auditor shall have the authority to contract with qualified public accounting firms to perform selected audits required in paragraphs (d), (e), (f) and (j) of this section, if funds are made available for such contracts by the Legislature, or if funds are available from the governmental entity covered by paragraphs (d), (e), (f) and (j). Such audits shall be made in accordance with generally accepted standards of auditing. All files, working papers, notes, correspondence and all other data compiled during the course of the audit shall be available, without cost, to the State Auditor for examination and abstracting during the normal business hours of any business day;
(l) The State Auditor shall have the authority to establish training courses and programs for the personnel of the various state and local governmental entities under the jurisdiction of the Office of the State Auditor. The training courses and programs shall include, but not be limited to, topics on internal control of funds, property and equipment control and inventory, governmental accounting and financial reporting, and internal auditing. The State Auditor is authorized to charge a fee from the participants of these courses and programs, which fee shall be deposited into the Department of Audit Special Fund. State and local governmental entities are authorized to pay such fee and any travel expenses out of their general funds or any other available funds from which such payment is not prohibited by law;
(m) Upon written request by the Governor or any member of the State Legislature, the State Auditor may audit any state funds and/or state and federal funds received by any nonprofit corporation incorporated under the laws of this state;
(n) To conduct performance audits of personal or professional service contracts by state agencies on a random sampling basis, or upon request of the State Personal Service Contract Review Board under Section 25-9-120(3).
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.