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California Rulemaking Law Under The Administrative Procedure Act. (Photo: OAL.ca.gov)

What Is the Purpose of California’s Public Contract Code?

Placing all public contract law in one code will make that law clearer and easier to find

By Chris Micheli, January 16, 2023 8:29 am

Division 1 of California’s Public Contract Code sets forth its purpose and several preliminary matters. Division 1 was added in 1984 by Chapter 42. Section 100 provides a legislative finding and declaration that placing all public contract law in one code will make that law clearer and easier to find.

In addition, Section 100 sets forth four statements of legislative intent, including that the Legislature intends to clarify the law with respect to competitive bidding requirements, ensure full compliance with competitive bidding statutes as a means of protecting the public from misuse of public funds, provide all qualified bidders with a fair opportunity to enter the bidding process, and eliminate favoritism, fraud, and corruption in the awarding of public contracts.

Section 101 provides that California public contract law should be efficient and the product of the best of modern practice and research. Section 102 specifies that, in order to encourage competition for public contracts and to aid public officials in the efficient administration of public contracting, California’s public contract law should be uniform.

Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 2 provides definitions, including Public Contract Code Section 1100 which defines “public entity” as the state, county, city, city and county, district, public authority, public agency, municipal corporation, or any other political subdivision or public corporation in the state.

Section 1100.7 provides that the Public Contract Code is the basis of contracts between most public entities in this state and their contractors and subcontractors. Section 1101 defines “public works contract” as an agreement for the erection, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of any public structure, building, road, or other public improvement of any kind. Section 1103 defines “responsible bidder” as a bidder who has demonstrated the attribute of trustworthiness, as well as quality, fitness, capacity, and experience to satisfactorily perform the public works contract.

Section 1104 prohibits a local public entity, charter city, or charter county from requiring a bidder to assume responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of architectural or engineering plans and specifications on public works projects, except on clearly designated design build projects.

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