House Bill No. 217

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act increasing construction cost authorization that does not require legislative consent; increasing the cost limit for projects subject to advertising and bidding; amending sections 18-2-102, 18-2-103, and 18-2-301, MCA; and providing an effective date."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 18-2-102, MCA, is amended to read:

"18-2-102.   Authority to construct buildings. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a building costing more than $50,000 $150,000 may not be constructed without the consent of the legislature. Legislative approval of repair and maintenance costs as part of an agency's operating budget constitutes the legislature's consent. When a building costing more than $50,000 $150,000 is to be financed in a manner that does not require legislative appropriation of money, the consent may be in the form of a joint resolution.

(2)  (a)  The governor may authorize the emergency repair or alteration of a building and is authorized to transfer funds and authority as necessary to accomplish the project. Transfers may not be made from the funds for an uncompleted capital project unless the project is under the supervision of the same agency.

(b)  The regents of the Montana university system may authorize the construction of revenue-producing facilities referred to in 20-25-302 if they are to be financed wholly from the revenue from the facility.

(c)  The regents of the Montana university system, with the consent of the governor, may authorize the construction of a building that is financed wholly with federal or private money if the construction of the building will not result in any new programs.

(d)  The department of military affairs, with the consent of the governor, may authorize the construction of a building that is financed wholly with federal or private money on federal land for the use or benefit of the state."

Section 2.  Section 18-2-103, MCA, is amended to read:

"18-2-103.   Supervision of construction of buildings. (1) For the construction of a building costing more than $50,000 $150,000, the department of administration shall:

(a)  review and accept all plans, specifications, and cost estimates prepared by architects or consulting engineers;

(b)  approve all bond issues or other financial arrangements and supervise and approve the expenditure of all moneys money;

(c)  solicit, accept, and reject bids and award all contracts to the lowest qualified bidder considering conformity with specifications and terms and reasonableness of the bid amount;

(d)  review and approve all change orders; and

(e)  accept the building when completed according to accepted plans and specifications.

(2)  The department may delegate on a project-by-project basis any powers and duties under subsection (1) to other state agencies, including units of the Montana university system, upon terms and conditions specified by the department.

(3)  Before a contract under subsection (1) is awarded, two formal bids must have been received, if reasonably available.

(4)  The department need not require the provisions of Montana law relating to advertising, bidding, or supervision when proposed construction costs are $25,000 $75,000 or less. However, with respect to a project having a proposed cost of $25,000 $75,000 or less but more than $5,000 $25,000, the agency awarding the contract shall procure at least three informal bids from contractors licensed in Montana, if reasonably available.

(5)  For the construction of buildings owned or to be owned by a school district, the department of administration shall, upon request, provide inspection to ensure compliance with the plans and specifications for the construction of the buildings. "Construction" includes construction, repair, alteration, equipping, and furnishing during construction, repair, or alteration. These services must be provided at a cost to be contracted for between the department of administration and the school district, with the receipts to be deposited in the department of administration's construction regulation account in a state special revenue fund.

(6)  It is the intent of the legislature that student housing and other facilities constructed under the authority of the regents of the university system are subject to the provisions of subsections (1) through (3).

(7)  The department of military affairs may act as the contracting agency for buildings constructed under the authority of 18-2-102(2)(d);. however However, the department of administration may agree to act as the contracting agency on behalf of the department of military affairs. Montana law applies to any controversy involving a contract."

Section 3.  Section 18-2-301, MCA, is amended to read:

"18-2-301.   Bids required -- advertising. (1) It is unlawful for any offices, departments, institutions, or any agent of the state of Montana acting for or in behalf of the state to do, to cause to be done, or to let any contract for the construction of buildings or the alteration and improvement of buildings and adjacent grounds on behalf of and for the benefit of the state when the amount involved is $25,000 $75,000 or more without first advertising in at least one issue each week for 3 consecutive weeks in two newspapers published in the state, one of which must be published at the seat of government and the other in the county where the work is to be performed, calling for sealed bids to perform the work and stating the time and place bids will be considered.

(2)  All work may be done, caused to be done, or contracted for only after competitive bidding.

(3)  If responsible bids are not received after two attempts, the department or agency may contract for the work in a manner determined to be cost-effective for the state.

(4)  This section does not apply to work done by inmates at an institution in the department of corrections."

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997.