Gov. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) signed a bill establishing “responsible bidder” criteria that contractors must meet when they submit bids to state or local governments for taxpayer-funded projects. The bipartisan effort passed the Minnesota House 84-38 and the Senate 59-0.

Multiple statewide organizations spearheaded the legislation to combat unscrupulous bidders being awarded public contracts based on low bids alone, including Associated Builders and Contractors’ Minnesota/North Dakota Chapter, Associated General Contractors, the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades, and the Minnesota departments of transportation and labor and industry.

Under the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, contractors bidding for a public project must sign a statement verifying that they comply with certain criteria, including payment of workers’ compensation, overtime pay and unemployment compensation. Other parameters include no violations of child labor regulations or prevailing wage requirements; no evidence of illegal subcontracting schemes, payroll fraud or employee misclassification; no current debarments by the federal, state or local government; and no sanctions or suspensions due to failures to make good-faith efforts to hire minority workers, disadvantaged business enterprises or target group businesses.