Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that a legislative committee recently advanced a bill aimed at clarifying what constitutes fraud in the public bidding process. The Moore-sponsored initiative, which possesses bipartisan support, received unanimous approval by members of the committee.

“It’s important to incentivize contractors to submit the most honest and accurate bids possible,” said Senator Moore. “This legislation will offer further clarification to the existing procurement laws and support a system that the public can trust.”

“Public construction contracts are major investments and our state policies ought to demand good faith and fair dealing throughout the solicitation process,” said Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton) who serves as Senate Chair of the committee that advanced the bill. “I am grateful to my colleague Senator Moore for sponsoring this legislative solution and proud as always to support fairness and transparency in public contracting on behalf of the hardworking taxpayers of Massachusetts.”

Existing law does not define fraud as it relates to bidding on public construction projects. In the case Fordyce v. Town of Hanover, the Supreme Judicial Court narrowed the definition of fraud in the public bidding context to when a fraudulent statement does actual harm to the awarding authority. As such, the intent of a contractor who offers fraudulent statements as part of a bid are not taken into account unless the contractor succeeds in defrauding the awarding authority.

The bill would increase the Attorney General’s ability to root out fraud and misrepresentation in the public bidding arena, and ensure the transparency and integrity of the process. To view the text of the bill, S.1885, and to continue tracking the legislation, visit the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.