SUCA was very well represented in Tallahassee, Fla., last month, taking the utility construction industry’s message to lawmakers. The Underground Utility Contractors of Florida’s (UUCF) board meeting was held on April 1 in Tallahassee and included a legislative briefing for those who would be visiting the capitol the next day. SUCA Chairman David Wirth of Dallas 1 Construction and Development; Jeff Nelson of David Nelson Construction Co.; Larry Falls of Associated Construction Products Inc.; Bruce Akers, Wally Quigg, Doug Koenig, Logan Roberts and Adam Taylor, all of Ferguson Waterworks Inc.; and SUCA Executive Director Misty McKendree met with Senator Jack Latvala and freshman Senator Wilton Simpson over breakfast prior to visiting the offices of nine other Senators and Representatives from the SUCA membership area.
UUCF’s priority issue presented to area representatives and senators was:
Local Government Self-Performing (HB 687 by McBurney; SB 602 by Hukill) — Florida Statute 255.20, “Competitive Bid Law,” requires local government to bid competitively any public works project in excess of $300,000. The bills address the “public’s best interest” exemption.
The bills do not change the other limited situations where a local government is legitimately allowed to self-perform work including, but not limited to:
• Work that is considered maintenance and/or repair
• Work valued at less than $300,000
The industry has lost 355,000 jobs or about 52 percent of its workforce since 2007. In light of these statistics, it is very important to have the legislature address the issue of local governments continuing to self-perform public works projects. These visits are important to the industry and to legislators. This is how they know what is important to their constituents. If you have never made the trip to Tallahassee, SUCA encourages you to consider it for next year.