S.B. No. 704
  relating to the small contractor participation assistance program
  for certain state construction projects.
         SECTION 1.  Section 2166.259, Government Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a), (b), (d), and (e) and adding Subsections
  (b-1), (b-2), and (b-3) to read as follows:
         (a)  This section applies only in relation to [a contract
  for] a public works project that will involve a contract or
  aggregated multiple contracts with [has] an estimated cost of more
  than $1 [$20] million.
         (b)  The commission shall maintain a small contractor
  participation assistance program to ensure full opportunity for
  participation in public works projects by small contractors. The
  program must include a:
               (1)  system for the centralized purchase of necessary
  insurance coverage for the public works project that is required
  under Subsection (c);
               (2)  public outreach plan to:
                     (A)  provide public information about the
  program; and
                     (B)  encourage small contractors to participate
  in the program;
               (3)  technical assistance plan to aid small contractors
  in developing the skills necessary to participate in the program in
  accordance with Subsection (d); [and]
               (4)  financing assistance plan to provide
  administrative and other assistance to small contractors in
  obtaining necessary financing arrangements to make the
  participation of those contractors possible; and
               (5)  method developed with guidance from the Texas
  Department of Insurance to assist small contractors in:
                     (A)  preparing bond application packages for
  public works projects in a format acceptable to bond underwriters;
                     (B)  obtaining bonds required to participate in
  public works projects.
         (b-1)  The commission shall designate a commission employee
  to serve as small contractor participation assistance coordinator.
  In addition to any other responsibilities, the coordinator shall:
               (1)  administer the small contractor participation
  assistance program established under this section;
               (2)  with the assistance of the Texas Department of
  Insurance, provide to small contractors technical assistance and
  training related to preparing bond application packages and
  obtaining bonds; and
               (3)  with the assistance of the facilities construction
  and space management division of the commission, provide to small
  contractors technical assistance related to participation in the
         (b-2)  The small contractor participation assistance
  coordinator shall submit an annual report describing the activities
  and progress of the program to the governor, the lieutenant
  governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives.
         (b-3)  Funding appropriated to the commission for the small
  contractor participation assistance program may only be used for
  that program.
         (d)  A technical assistance plan adopted by the commission
  must include information on and assistance in:
               (1)  bid estimation, the bidding process, scheduling,
  and the understanding of bid documents;
               (2)  the reading of construction drawings and other
  analogous documents;
               (3)  business accounting, bonds, and bond
               (4)  negotiation with general contractors; [and]
               (5)  other technical and administrative matters
  considered appropriate and necessary given the complexity and scope
  of the public works project; and
               (6)  small contractor safety training to ensure
  compliance with federal jobsite safety standards.
         (e)  The commission shall [may] negotiate contracts with
  persons or firms having expertise and any required license in the
  areas that must be included in the commission's technical
  assistance plan to provide the information and assistance.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2007.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 704 passed the Senate on
  May 2, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 704 passed the House on
  May 23, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 144, Nays 0, two
  present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House