Under the amended County Purchasing Act, Texas counties may now require solely electronic bids or proposals in the competitive bidding process.
Chapter 262, Subchapter C of the Texas Local Government Code contains the County Purchasing Act (the “Act”), which governs competitive bidding procedures for Texas counties. Specifically, Section 262.0225 allows bidders to submit bids or proposals “in hard-copy format or through electronic transmission.” Until House Bill 362, counties were required to accept hard-copy bids or proposals.
During the 87th Session, however, the Texas Legislature amended the Act to allow Texas counties the ability to require solely electronic bids or proposals in the competitive bidding process. Now, if a county wishes to receive only electronic bids or proposals, the county, via the commissioners court, may order the bidders to submit such bids or proposals electronically (i.e., no hard copies)—but only if the county makes the technology to do so available to bidders who attempt to submit hard-copy bids or proposals.
Under the previous version of the Act, counties may have received, and were required to accept, a mix of hard-copy and electronic bids and proposals, which could create submission inefficiencies, extra work for county staff, and various other risks associated with hard-copy submissions that presumably worsened during the era of COVID-19. House Bill 362’s Statement of Intent confirms that this legislation seeks to alleviate these issues by allowing counties the ability to modernize and streamline their submission requirements as necessary for each county.
Parties wishing to submit bids or proposals to Texas counties should confirm the county’s submission requirements ahead of time and assemble their associated materials accordingly. If a bidding party is unable to comply with a county’s electronic submission requirements, it should request that the county make the necessary technology available to it, as required by the Act.