In the final hours of Sine Die, the Georgia Legislature passed House Bill 995. This legislation, which is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature, is directed to local governments’ procurement matters. It seeks to ensure transparency and fairness in the procurement process. HB 995 requires that all consultants developing technical specifications or requirements for procurement orders disclose any financial or working relationships with companies bidding on the procurement order. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that local governments get the services that best suit their needs, rather than services pressed on them though potential conflicts of interest.
Consultants must notify the local government when there is a potential conflict of interest. However, the local government is not precluded from hiring a consultant with a conflict of interest; this bill just assures that the government officials making the decisions are aware of the relationship. The duty is on the consultant to report any relationships, and there are no additional regulations placed on the local government. Finally, if the consultant fails to disclose a relationship, the local government may recover any funds paid to the consultant before the county or municipality was aware of the relationship.
UPDATE: This bill passed the Georgia General Assembly, but was vetoed on May 8, 2018 by the Governor.
UPDATE: A new bill was passed in the 2019 session. H.B. 315. 2019 Ga. Laws 26. It adds O.C.G.A. Sec. 36-80-28.