Rep. Nick DiCeglie filed a bill this week that would ensure local government construction projects are transparent and competitive.
The bill (HB 53) requires local governments to utilize competitive bidding processes when contracting city, town or county projects. It blocks them from “train(ing) employees in designated programs with restricted curriculum or from a single source,” according to the bill language.
The bill would block local ordinances that require things like apprenticeship programs, a trend among some more liberal cities aimed at providing work opportunities for residents. The ordinances, like one approved in St. Petersburg, typically address workforce development for non-college careers.
Trade groups oppose those local ordinances.
While DiCeglie’s office recognizes the well-intentioned efforts of some of those ordinances, the idea is to inject free-market principles into local policymaking to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently.
“This bill ensures that local governments are using a transparent, competitive bidding process when they consider these large construction projects,” DiCeglie said. “These local governments are tasked with being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Not by playing favorites, but instead by incorporating proven procurement practices.”
“Too many times we see inefficient spending on construction projects. HB 53 dives into finding real solutions in this bidding process. While consequently helping Floridian’s become more comfortable knowing their tax dollars are being used to their potential in the construction of these important public projects.”
DiCeglie hopes the bill, if approved, would allow small businesses less likely to be involved in local procurement, to get a seat at the table.
Democrats in the Legislature are likely to push back against the measure. Local governments are also likely to offer pushback against it as another attack on home rule.
Recent Legislative Sessions have seen a spate of bills, some successful and some not, seeking to preempt local rulemaking. One example includes an effort to block local governments from enacting straw bans, a measure that passed the Legislature, but that Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed.
DiCeglie’s bill does not yet have a Senate companion. If approved, the bill would take effect July 1.