Article - State Finance and Procurement
(a) (1) Whenever procurement is based on competitive sealed bids, a procurement officer shall seek bids by issuing an invitation for bids.
(2) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, an invitation for bids shall include:
(i) the specifications of the procurement contract, including the expected degree of minority business enterprise participation, as provided in�§ 14–303(b)�of this article;
(ii) whether the procurement contract will be awarded based on the lowest bid price, the lowest evaluated bid price or, if the procurement is subject to § 11–202(3) of this article, the bid most favorable to the State;
(iii) if the procurement contract will be based on evaluated bid price, the objective measurable criteria by which the lowest evaluated bid price will be determined; and
(iv) if the Secretary of General Services, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland has so designated, the small business preference.
(b) (1) Whenever a procurement officer determines that an initial preparation of specifications for price bids is impracticable, the invitation for bids may:
(i) include a request for unpriced technical offers or samples; and
(ii) direct bidders to submit price bids:
1. with the unpriced technical offers or samples; or
2. after the unit evaluates the technical offers or samples and finds that they are acceptable under the criteria set forth in the invitation for bids.
(2) A unit shall consider the prices submitted by bidders whose technical offers or samples have been found acceptable.
(3) Price bids may not be opened until after the unit has completed evaluation of the technical offers or samples.
(4) (i) A price bid may not be opened at any time if the bid is submitted by a bidder whose technical offer or sample has been evaluated as unacceptable to the unit.
(ii) A procurement officer shall return an unopened price bid submitted by a bidder whose technical offer or sample has been evaluated as unacceptable.
(c) (1) A unit shall give public notice of an invitation for bids before bid
opening in accordance with this subsection.
(2) A unit shall give reasonable notice that shall be at least 10 days before bid opening.
(3) The unit shall publish notice in eMaryland Marketplace at least 20 days before bid opening if:
(i) the procurement officer reasonably expects bid prices to exceed $50,000 or a lower amount set by the Board by regulation in accordance with Title 10, Subtitle 1 of the State Government Article; and
(ii) at least part of the procurement contract is to be performed in this State or the District of Columbia.
(4) In addition to any notice required under this subsection, a unit may publish notice of an invitation for bids:
(i) on a bid board or eMaryland Marketplace; or
(ii) in a newspaper, periodical, or trade journal.
(d) (1) A procurement officer shall:
(i) open bids in public at the time and place designated in the invitation for bids; and
(ii) announce, record, and post:
1. the name of each bidder; and
2. the amount of each bid.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection, a bid is irrevocable, after bid opening, for the period specified in the invitation for bids.
(3) A procurement officer may allow a bidder to correct or withdraw a bid if correction or withdrawal is:
(i) allowed under regulations adopted under this Division II; and
(ii) approved in writing by the Office of the Attorney General.
(e) (1) After obtaining any approval required by law, the procurement officer shall award the procurement contract to the responsible bidder who submits the responsive bid that:
(i) is the lowest bid price;
(ii) if the invitation for bids so provides, is the lowest evaluated bid price; or
(iii) for procurement subject to § 11–202(3) of this article, is the bid most favorable to the State.
(2) If, after competitive sealed bids have been opened, a procurement officer determines that only 1 responsible bidder has submitted a responsive bid, the unit may negotiate the procurement contract with that 1 bidder under the procedure for sole source procurement.
(3) (i) After competitive sealed bids have been opened, a procurement officer may award a procurement contract on the basis of revised bids if:
1. all bids are rejected under § 13–206(b) of this title;
2. all bid prices exceed the funds available for the procurement; or
3. with the approval of the head of the unit or a designee, the procurement officer determines that all bids are unreasonable as to at least 1 requirement and the delay that would result from issuing a new invitation for bids with revised specifications or quantities would be fiscally disadvantageous or otherwise not in the best interests of the State.
(ii) If there is more than 1 bidder, discussions about revised specifications or quantities shall be conducted with all responsible bidders who submitted responsive bids. The bidders shall be treated fairly and equally with respect to any discussions.
(iii) As promptly as possible, the procurement officer shall:
1. issue an invitation for revised bids, which shall state whether the award will be made without competitive negotiations; and
2. require a prompt response to that invitation.
(iv) An invitation for revised bids is not subject to the notice requirements in subsection (c) of this section.
(v) After revised bids have been submitted, negotiations with bidders may not be conducted unless the procurement officer determines that there is a compelling reason to negotiate.
(vi) After revised bids have been opened and any approval required by law has been obtained, the procurement officer shall award the procurement contract to the responsible bidder who submits a responsive bid that:
1. is the lowest bid price;
2. if the invitation for revised bids so provides, is the lowest evaluated bid price; or
3. for procurement subject to § 11–202(3) of this article, is the bid most favorable to the State.
(4) A responsive bid or proposal shall include the criteria specified in subsection (a) of this section.
(f) Not more than 30 days after the execution and approval of a procurement contract in excess of $50,000 awarded under this section, or a lower amount set by the Board by regulation in accordance with Title 10, Subtitle 1 of the State Government Article, a unit shall publish notice of the award in eMaryland Marketplace.