Explanation of HB 995: What does it mean?

Bills go through the Georgia House of Representatives all the time. Here, for the politically uninitiated, I’m explaining why this individual bill is important.

In a legislative update sent out Monday, Republican Rep. Dr. Mark Newton told his subscribers that HB 995, a bill he introduced, had passed the House. According to the email, this Bill “ensures that any consultant or firm hired specifically to prepare bids should be required, at the very least, to disclose any financial relationships with any of the bidders and to avoid conflicts of interest.”

For those unfamiliar, “preparing a bid” is a business term meaning “to complete a proposal submitted in competition with other bidders to execute specified jobs within a prescribed time, and not exceeding a proposed amount (that usually includes labor, equipment, and materials)” according to businessdictionary.com.

Basically, HB 995 says people hired to put forward these types of proposals are now required to disclose any relationships they have with the ones bidding for the jobs to avoid a conflict of interest.
This is important because according to Newton, this favoritism has been a problem in our state for years, most recently around Atlanta.

In an article published on the front page of The Augusta Chronicle on March 22, Newton told them House Bill 995 addresses the concern from many involved in local government contracting that bids are written to favor a particular vendor, specifically ones with whom the consultants have financial relationships.

For everyone else, Newton says, this special treatment of specific vendors can mean that our tax dollars could be used to fund projects that are made more expensive than they need to be. Stopping the “corruption and scandal far too often associated with government contracting” is Newton’s reason for putting the Bill forward.

“Public trust and confidence in government contracting is vital and must be carefully guarded whenever government, at any level, spends taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars,” Newton said to his email subscribers.

Since the Bill passed the House last week, it now only needs to go to the Governor’s desk to become law.

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