CA: Vote today on bill to limit trial courts’ ability to contract out/”privatize” work; similar bill vetoed last year

The California Senate Judiciary is set to vote today on a bill that would restrict the ability of the state’s trial courts (Superior) to issued contracts for work. AB 2332 of 2014 lays out many of the same restrictions as AB 566 of 2013 which was vetoed; Governor Gerry Brown in his veto message express concern “it requires California’s courts to meet overly detailed and – in some cases – nearly impossible requirements when entering into or renewing certain contracts.”

Under AB 2332 of 2014 the courts would have to meet many of the same requirements as AB 566 of 2013 before being allowed to contract out services. According to the legislative analysis of the bill that would mean:

  • the trial court must clearly demonstrate that the contract will result in actual overall cost savings to the trial court for the duration of the entire contract as compared with the trial court’s actual costs of providing the same services, as specified;
  • the contract must not be approved solely on the basis that savings will result from lower contractor pay rates or benefits, except contracts are eligible for approval if the contractor’s wages are at the industry level and do not undercut trial court pay rates;
  • the contract cannot cause an existing trial court employee to incur a loss of his or her employment or employment seniority, a reduction in wages, benefits, or hours, or an involuntary transfer to a new location requiring a change in residence;
  • the contract cannot be approved if, in light of the services provided by trial courts and the special nature of the judicial function, it would be inconsistent with the public interest to have the services performed by a private entity;
  • the contract must be awarded through a publicized, competitive bidding process;
  • the contract must include specific provisions pertaining to the qualifications of the staff that will perform the work under the contract, as well as assurances that the contractor’s hiring practices meet applicable nondiscrimination standards;
  • the contract must provide that it may be terminated at any time by the trial court without penalty if there is a material breach of the contract and notice is provided within 30 days of termination;
  • the term of the contract shall not be more than five years from the date on which the trial court approves the contract; and
  • if the contract is for services over $100,000 annually, the contract must include certain audit-related provisions, and the trial court must (1) meet certain auditing requirements, as specified, and (2)require the contractor todisclosea description ofall of the following as part of its bid, application, or answer to arequest for proposal:
    • all charges, claims, or complaints filed against the contractor with a federal, state, or local administrative agency during the prior 10 years;
    • all civil complaints filed against the contractor in a state or federal court during the prior 10 years;
    • all state or federal criminal complaints or indictments filed against the contractor, or any of its officers, directors, or managers, at any time; and
    • any debarments of the contractor by a public agency or licensing body at any time.