bookmark_borderNew Bonding Opportunities posted for Members

New bonding opportunities enacted in the state legislature that may be
of interest to SFAA members has been posted. The report is divided by
line of business: contract surety, commercial surety, and fidelity bonds.
For your reference, we have included the date of enactment for each
bill. SFAA updates this list periodically as new bonding opportunities
are enacted. 

Access the New Bonding Opportunities now


bookmark_borderAmicus Brief posted for Members, Claims Advisors and Case Summary Subscribers

  

New Amicus Brief for Ohio has been posted for Members, Claims Advisors and Case Summary Subscribers.  Navigate to Member Services / Claims / Amicus Briefs.

Older Amicus Briefs have been posted for the following locations:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Federal
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

These Briefs are specific to the cases in which they were filed and are not a substitute for legal advice.


bookmark_borderDraft Infrastructure Bill Circulated in the U.S. House

Draft Infrastructure Bill Circulated in the U.S. House

Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Bill Shuster (R-PA) circulated a draft bill that would, among other things, tackle the funding issue for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The bill may be a catalyst for discussion on transportation issues, but no action is expected anytime soon.

The bill would increase the gas tax by 15 cents and by 20 cents for diesel fuel until 2028. Consistent with a goal to make all users of the transportation system pay for the system, the bill imposes a 10 percent tax on the wholesale price of electronic batteries for vehicles and bicycle tires and eliminates the reduced user fees on fuels for intercity and local public buses and certain passenger trains. Other highway taxes also are extended to 2028. A Highway Trust Fund Commission would be created to find a long-term solution to the solvency issues of the HTF. A voluntary pilot program would test whether a per-mile user fee could fund the HTF.

The bill also contains a pilot program for the General Services Administration to complete three to five federal building projects as a public-private partnership (P3) under the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) scoring rules. Long term P3s do not score well under current OMB rules. When a federal agency leases office space under a ten-year lease, the OMB rules provide that this is an operating lease that requires the agency to include only the next year?s lease payments, plus any fee to break the lease, to be included in the following FY budget. If a federal agency enters into a P3 agreement under which a private partner finances the construction or rehabilitation of a building for which the federal agency would rent the space for 20 years, after which the agency would either take ownership or otherwise pay back the private partner for the financing, the OMB rules consider that a capital lease. The federal agency would have to budget the present value of the entire 20-year lease in the next FY budget. If this provision is enacted, it would test P3s and how they can operate under current OMB rules.

The bill also addresses accelerating project delivery by requiring the federal transit agencies to make a decision on a permit within two years and creating a pilot program to test innovative approaches to environmental permits.

The bill authorizes $3 billion over the next five years for a new National Infrastructure Investment Program to make grants for transportation projects, 30 percent of which must be in rural areas. There will be incentive grants to applicants that have leased an infrastructure asset to the private sector if the applicant certifies that the proceeds from that lease will be used to make other infrastructure investments. The proposal also contemplates a $10 billion revolving fund to construct and renovate federal buildings. There no funding mechanism for these new programs.

Members should visit Advocacy / General Info (Members) for more information.


bookmark_borderAmendment on the Miller Act Not Included in Final NDAA Report

Amendment on the Miller Act Not Included in Final NDAA Report

The final conference report on the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) does not contain the amendment that SFAA and NASBP sought to exempt the federal Miller Act bond threshold from indexing for inflation. Our bill, H.R. 4486, was included in the House version of the NDAA, but was not in the Senate version when the NDAA went to conference. The Department of Defense (DOD) expressed concern about our amendment. Assuming continuing inflation, the DOD noted that over time a $150,000 contract will have less value than it does today. Hence, the DOD would be required to bond projects that are worth less than they are now at the $150,000 bond threshold. The DOD concluded that the risk of default/loss at these lower dollar values does not warrant the protection of bonds.

This June, the DOD, GSA, and NASA published a notice they will release a proposed regulation in December 2018 that would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to make inflation adjustments of statutory acquisition-related thresholds that are due for consideration in 2020. The $150,000 Miller Act performance bond threshold is one of the thresholds to be considered in 2020. If the Miller Act bond threshold were increased from $150,000 to $200,000 in 2020, according to SFAA?s data, the federal government?s exposure to loss would increase $300 million annually.

The change order bill that the federal Construction Industry Procurement Coalition supported was included in the NDAA report, which will go to the President for signature soon. H.R. 4754 requires that for every solicitation for a contract to be awarded to a small business, the prospective bidders must be provided with the agency?s policies or practices for compliance with the FAR on Requests for an Equitable Adjustment (REAs) when a change order is issued. The FAR already requires the agencies to respond to REAs in ?the shortest practicable time.? If an agency does not have a policy or information on its past practices regarding on REAs, H.R. 4754 would require the agency to start collecting that information for a three-year period. The agency must collect data on whether they responded to a REA within 30, 60, 90, 180, or 360 days from receipt of the REA or whether the agency responds to REAs after the completion of the contract. This is a first step to gather information on the agency practices and to address compliance with the FAR. H.R. 4754 was included in the House NDAA but not in the Senate version. The bill also passed the House as a standalone bill on the suspension calendar.

The House plans to vote on the conference report soon. The Senate vote will be shortly thereafter.

Members should visit Advocacy / General Info (Members) for more information.