DATE: January 23, 2003

SUBJECT: General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR); Acquisition of Information Technology by State and Local Governments Through Federal Supply Schedules

SOURCE: Federal Register, January 23, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 15, page 3220

AGENCIES: Office of Governmentwide Policy, General Services Administration (GSA)

ACTION: Proposed Rule

SYNOPSIS: GSA is proposing to add GSAR Subpart 538.70, Cooperative Purchasing, to implement Section 211 of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347), which authorizes GSA to permit state and local governments to use its federal supply schedule for "automated data processing equipment (including firmware), software, supplies, support equipment, and services (as contained in Federal Supply Classification Code Group 70)."

DATES: Submit comments on or before March 23, 2003.

A public meeting will be conducted at the GSA Auditorium, 1800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20405, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., on February 4, 2003, to discuss the proposed rule.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVA), 1800 F Street, NW, Room 4035, Attn: Laurie Duarte, Washington, DC 20405, or by e-mail to: GSARcase.2002-G505@gsa.gov. Cite "2002-G505" in all correspondence related to proposed rule.

Those wishing to attend the meeting and/or make presentations on the proposed rule should contact and submit a copy of the presentation by January 28, 2003, to General Services Administration, Acquisition Policy Division (MVP), 1800 F Street, NW., Room 4033, Attn: Beverly Cromer, Washington, DC 20405, 202-208-6750. Submit presentations only, and cite "Public Meeting 2002-G505." The submitted presentations will be the only record of the public meeting.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beverly Cromer, Procurement Analyst, 202-208-6750.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Section 211 of the E-Government Act of 2002 amends the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act to allow the GSA Administrator to authorize "cooperative purchasing" to permit state, local, regional, or tribal governments to acquire automated data processing equipment (including firmware), software, supplies, support equipment, and services from Federal Supply Schedule Group 70.

The proposed rule would establish a new GSAR Subpart 538.70 and associated clauses to address cooperative purchasing from supply schedules by eligible non-federal organizations. New GSAR Subpart 538.70 would define the scope of cooperative purchasing, its usage, and applicable terms and conditions, including payment and the handling of disputes.

GSAR Subpart 538.70 would consist of the following sections:

     GSAR 538.7000, Scope of Subpart
GSAR 538.7001, Definitions
GSAR 538.7002, General
GSAR 538.7003, Policy
GSAR 538.7004, Solicitation Provisions and Contract Clauses

However, the most important portion of the proposed rule is new contract clause GSAR 552.238-79, Use of Federal Supply Schedule Contracts by Certain Entities -- Cooperative Purchasing, which would provide the following:

The other significant new clause would be GSAR 552.232-81, Payments by Non-Federal Ordering Activities, which would provide that the terms and conditions of a state's prompt payment law apply to orders placed by eligible non-federal ordering activities, but that, if the ordering activity is not subject to a state prompt payment law, the activity would be covered by the Federal Prompt Payment Act as implemented in FAR Subpart 32.9, Prompt Payment, in the same manner as federal ordering activities. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Two other contract clauses would be added by the proposed rule: GSAR 552.232-82, Contractor's Remittance (Payment) Address, and GSAR 552.232-83, Contractor's Billing Responsibilities.)

Finally, the word "Government" would be replaced by "eligible ordering activities" throughout the portions of the GSAR that apply to Federal Supply Schedule contracts.

Interested parties are encouraged to attend a public meeting that will be held on February 4, 2003, to discuss the contents of the proposed rule and other ideas regarding the implementation of Section 211. The introduction to the proposed rule states, "GSA is developing a training plan to help acclimate parties with cooperative purchasing. Additional non-regulatory guidance will also be developed as necessary."

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2003 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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