Arkansas justices hear challenge to no-bid state contracts

By Chris Rizo | Dec 4, 2008

Arkansas Supreme Court justices

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - The Arkansas Supreme Court heard a case Thursday challenging a state law that allows no-bid contracts for buildings worth more than $5 million, excluding the cost of land.

In January, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Jay Moody ruled that the 2001 law that says state building and bridge contracts "in any county" must be competitively bid is not unconstitutional.

The Contractors for Public Protection Association appealed the case to the state Supreme Court, arguing that Moody erred when he ruled that the constitutional provision raised in their lawsuit only requires county governments to bid construction projects competitively, not the state.

The builders' association is specifically challenging $800 million in state building contracts awarded since the 2001 law was enacted.

For their part, the state argues that the no-bid contract method is better for taxpayers because then contracts are awarded based on a firm's capability and expertise rather than solely on cost.

Not hearing the case is Chief Justice Jim Hannah, who was out of
town, and Justice Elana Wills, who previously worked in the state attorney general's office.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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