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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 25, 2017 10:05 AM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Statewide Bid And Notice Database
I plan on introducing legislation to modernize the manner in which the various local government units must advertise for bids and issue public notices. The bill would provide for an alternative method, in the form of a Statewide Bid and Notice Database on which a local government unit – township, borough, school district, county, or authority—could inform the public of meetings and contract opportunities.

In the recent past, I chaired a Local Government Commission Task Force on Mandates placed on municipalities by the state. One item appeared frequently and regularly—the arbitrary cost and ineffectiveness of Pennsylvania’s public notice laws. In 2012, the Final Report of the Task Force recommended that local government entities be authorized to electronically publish legal notices on the Internet in lieu of a newspaper advertisement. The report can be accessed here http://www.lgc.state.pa.us/pdfs/sr323docs/SR_323_of_2010_Report.pdf.

The advantages of this initiative are multifold. It will provide ease of access and expand the audience for government notices. It will open the entire state to requests for proposals, which will provide municipalities with more options and opportunities to reduce contracting costs. It will also save the time and arbitrary expense of the current newspaper advertisement process.

The legislation would establish a statewide public notice and public bid website through the Center for Local Government Services in the Department of Community and Economic Development. The statewide notice/bid website would be funded by fees to local government units based on the actual cost to DCED to start and maintain it, as well as the government’s usage. Under this proposal, a local government unit would also have to post a copy for public inspection at the municipal building and send a copy by mail with proof of receipt to newspapers circulating in the municipality, in addition to posting on the Statewide BAND.

Please note, this legislation does not change the law with regard to notices that must be published in legal journals under existing statute.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to modernize the public notice process for Pennsylvania’s local governments.

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Introduced as SB745