Governor signs Jones bill to ensure fair bidding, protect proprietary information

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to ensure that all companies compete on an equal playing field when bidding for a public contract.

Senate Bill 69, now Public Act 21 of 2017, exempts a bid, quote or proposal involved in a procurement process from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) until the final notification that the contract is awarded.

“I thank the governor for signing this measure and stopping the abuse of our FOIA system to undercut Michigan businesses,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Before this change, vendors could unfairly use FOIA to find out how much money the state can spend on a particular project and also look at bids from their competitors before a final decision has been made.

“As a result, state taxpayers could have been missing out on savings as companies could prepare their bids based on information gained through FOIA instead of simply offering the lowest possible price.”

The new act also exempts trade secrets and financial or proprietary information from FOIA.

Jones said that many businesses are refusing to participate in the procurement process in Michigan because they fear that their trade secrets or financial information will be compromised.

“As we try to attract the best companies to our state, this will put Michigan in line with 41 other states that protect financial and proprietary information,” Jones said. “The new law will only change the timing of bid disclosure information. There would still be transparency once the contract has been awarded.”