Introduced by Representatives Obuchowski of Rockingham and Brooks of Montpelier
Subject: Procurement; offshore ban on procurement
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to prohibit state entities from awarding contracts for work that is performed at a site outside the United States. It also makes it clear that administrative officials do not have the power to bind the state to international agreements, and that a legislative act shall be required for these purposes.
AN ACT RELATING TO AN OFFSHORE BAN ON PROCUREMENT AND THE POWER TO ENTER INTERNATIONAL TREATIES ON BEHALF OF THE STATE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 29 V.S.A. § 909 is added to read:
§ 909. OFFSHORE BAN ON PROCUREMENT
(a) The general assembly finds that:
(1) State agencies and subdivisions procure services in part through contracts with private vendors;
(2) Increasingly, private vendors carry out these services, or subcontract or otherwise procure these services, from a location outside the United States;
(3) Such international outsourcing exacerbates unemployment and workforce dislocation and deprives Vermont residents of job opportunities, including industries and jobs this state has expended development assistance resources to attract;
(4) International outsourcing erodes state and local revenues by drawing jobs and income away from the state; and
(5) International outsourcing additionally may provide fewer privacy protections for state residents whose personal information may, in the course of service delivery, be transmitted to locations outside the United States.
(b) The following provisions shall apply to all state contracts, all local contracts funded with state dollars (except where it would be inconsistent with current state law), and state-funded development assistance:
(1) State entities and local governments shall not award a contract or development assistance to a vendor, bidder, contractor, subcontractor, or applicant for development assistant that performs the work at a site outside the United States. Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede or replace existing requirements in place for development assistant programs.
(2) As used in this section, "Developmental assistance" means any form of public assistance, including tax expenditures, made for the purpose of stimulating economic development of a corporation, industry, geographic jurisdiction, or any other sector of the state's economy, including industrial development bonds, training grants, loans, loan guarantees, enterprise zones, empowerment zones, tax increment financing, fee waivers, land price subsidies, infrastructure whose principal beneficiary is a single business or defined group of businesses at the time it is built or improved, matching funds, tax abatements, tax credits, and tax discounts of every kind, including corporate franchise, personal income, sales and compensating use, raw materials, real property, job creation, individual investment, excise, utility, inventory, accelerated depreciation, and research and development tax credits and discounts.
(3) Each vendor submitting a bid or contract to provide services and all development assistance applicants shall certify that the services covered by the bid, contract, or development assistance will be performed in the United States.
(4) If during the life of the contract, the vendor, contractor, subcontractor, or development assistance recipient shifts overseas work that is funded under the contract, the state entity or local government shall terminate the contract for noncompliance. In addition, the vendor, contractor, subcontractor, or development assistance recipient shall forfeit penalties to the state agency or local government in an amount equal to the amount paid by the state agency or local government for the percentage of work that was performed with workers outside the United States. Any contractor, subcontractor, vendor, bidder, or development assistance recipient that violates this section shall not receive any state contracts or development assistance for a period of five years from the date of determination of that violation.
(5) A relevant state entity shall be entitled to bring a civil action in state or federal court to compel enforcement under this section. The court shall award reasonable attorney's fees and costs to the state entity bringing the action.
Sec. 2. 3 V.S.A. § 2295 is added to read:
§ 2295. INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS
(a) It is the policy of the state of Vermont that:
(1) State officials do not have the authority to agree to bind the state under the government procurement rules of international trade agreements, not to give consent to the federal government for the state to be bound to such agreements;
(2) Any consent state officials have given to be bound by the government procurement rules of international trade agreements is invalid;
(3) The state therefore considers itself unbound by the government procurement rules of such agreements under state, federal, and international law; and
(4) The state will not consent to be bound by the government procurement rules of any international trade agreements in the future absent a specific, explicit act of the general assembly authorizing such consent.
(b) The state’s attorney general shall inform the U.S. Trade Representative of the policies in subsection (a) of this section in writing no later than July 15, 2005 and shall provide copies of that notice to the speaker of the house and the president pro tempore of the senate.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street