Bill Description: House Bill 191 would prohibit the state from considering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in procurement or contract bids.
Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?
House Bill 191 would tackle one aspect of the controversial environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria that have been encroaching on the business and finance sectors in recent years. The bill would create Section 67-2347, Idaho Code, titled "Prohibition of Environmental, Social, and Governance Standards in Public Contracts," to say, "No contract shall be accepted or denied by a public entity based on environmental, social, and governance standards."
The bill defines ESG standards both as "standards that would screen or score contractors based on subjective ethical or sustainability criteria unrelated to the specifications of a contract or the qualifications of a contractor" and as "procurement standards that screen or score bids, in whole or in part, on subjective ethical or sustainability criteria unrelated to the specifications in a solicitation or the qualifications of a bidder."
The bill amends Section 54-4511, Idaho Code, dealing with construction management for public works, to say, "no proposal, bid, or qualifications shall be accepted or denied and no award of contract under any provision of this section shall be made based on environmental, social, and governance standards."
The bill amends Section 67-5711A, Idaho Code, dealing with design-build contracts, to say "no such contract shall be awarded or denied based on environmental, social, and governance standards."
A similar amendment is made to Section 67-5711C, Idaho Code, dealing with competitive bidding for construction contracts for public works, saying, "no bid submitted pursuant to this section shall be accepted or denied based on environmental, social, and governance standards."
Another such amendment is made to Section 67-9210, Idaho Code, part of the state procurement act, which says that "the administrator shall award contracts to, and place orders for property with, the lowest responsible bidder. Qualifications for responsibility shall be prescribed by rule." This bill adds that "environmental, social, and governance standards may not be used as a qualification for responsibility."
Taxpayers would benefit if state procurement standards focus on competitive bids rather than being sidetracked by unrelated social justice goals.
House Bill 191 also deals with procurement standards for higher education, amending Section 67-9225, Idaho Code, to say that the state board of education shall not approve a college or university's policies and procedures for procuring property "if such policies and procedures permit the consideration of environmental, social, and governance standards in procurement decisions."
It further instructs the state board to revoke its approval of any existing policies and procedures that violate this standard.
It goes on to say that "if a state institution of higher education's policies and procedures are revoked pursuant to" these requirements, "such institution shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter until such time as new policies and procedures for the institution are approved by the state board of education."
Put simply, if any colleges or universities have already adopted ESG standards related to procurement, they're going to be required to stop using them.
Taxpayers and students would benefit if colleges and universities in Idaho were required to adopt procurement standards that remain focused on competitive bids rather than being sidetracked by unrelated social justice goals.
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