Lawmakers' proposal could help Idaho companies get more contracts

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Democratic Senator Elliot Werk is proposing a bill that would allow local and state government to choose Idaho companies over out-of-state bidders, even if their bid isn't the lowest.

It would only apply to contracts for $5 million or less. Government agencies would have the option to award contracts to Idaho companies as long as their bid was within 5 percent of the out-of-state bidder.

Normally, any government contract has to go to the lowest bidder. Agencies could still choose the low bid.

Cosponsors of the bill, like Representative Mat Erpelding of Boise, are hoping it will give advantages for local companies to grow.

"Our state needs additional opportunities for people who live here," said Erpelding. "People who take the time to live in Idaho invest in Idaho, start companies in Idaho should be given priority to work with Idaho government whether it's with state or local."

Erpelding admits the bill does have an uphill climb in order to get passed. Right now they are trying to gain bipartisan support, and it would still have to be brought up in committee.