(a) The Legislature finds and declares that it is the intent of this section to encourage contractors and manufacturers to develop and implement new and ingenious materials, products, and services that function as well, in all essential respects, as materials, products, and services that are required by a contract, but at a lower cost to taxpayers.
(b) No agency of the state, nor any political subdivision, municipal corporation, or district, nor any public officer or person charged with the letting of contracts for the construction, alteration, or repair of public works, shall draft or cause to be drafted specifications for bids, in connection with the construction, alteration, or repair of public works, (1) in a manner that limits the bidding, directly or indirectly, to any one specific concern, or (2) calling for a designated material, product, thing, or service by specific brand or trade name unless the specification is followed by the words "or equal" so that bidders may furnish any equal material, product, thing, or service. In applying this section, the specifying agency shall, if aware of an equal product manufactured in this state, name that product in the specification. Specifications shall provide a period of time prior to or after, or prior to and after, the award of the contract for submission of data substantiating a request for a substitution of "an equal" item. If no time period is specified, data may be submitted any time within 35 days after the award of the contract.
(c) Subdivision (b) is not applicable if the awarding authority, or its designee, makes a finding that is described in the invitation for bids or request for proposals that a particular material, product, thing, or service is designated by specific brand or trade name for any of the following purposes:
(1) In order that a field test or experiment may be made to determine the product's suitability for future use.
(2) In order to match other products in use on a particular public improvement either completed or in the course of completion.
(3) In order to obtain a necessary item that is only available from one source.
(4) (A) In order to respond to an emergency declared by a local agency, but only if the declaration is approved by a four-fifths vote of the governing board of the local agency issuing the invitation for bid or request for proposals.
(B) In order to respond to an emergency declared by the state, a state agency, or political subdivision of the state, but only if the facts setting forth the reasons for the finding of the emergency are contained in the public records of the authority issuing the invitation for bid or request for proposals.
(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 132, Sec. 1.)