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SmallGovCon Week in Review: Oct. 26 – Oct. 30, 2020

Happy Halloween, SmallGovCon readers! My kids are definitely excited about Halloween, even though the trick or treating will be a little different than in years past. But there is more to be excited about. Next week is National Veteran Owned Small Business Week. Check out SBA’s events and resources for more information, and join us in celebrating the many veteran-owned small businesses around the country. This week saw a number of important stories, ranging from an idea for a new set-as

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

Govology’s Government Contracts Year in Review is Coming–And It’s Easy to Get a 25% Discount

Over the last several years, I’ve established an important pre-holiday December tradition. No, not decking the halls or leaving carrots for the reindeer–I’m talking about presenting the annual Government Contracts Year in Review webinar, hosted by my good friends at Govology. The Year in Review covers the year’s biggest government contracting developments, with a special emphasis on small business issues. The 2020 Year in Review is scheduled for Tuesday, December 15. And just like Kris

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

Event: APTAC Limitations on Subcontracting Session

For small businesses and their teammates, few topics in government contracting are as confusing as the limitations on subcontracting for set-aside and socioeconomic sole source contracts.  And if that isn’t stressful enough, the “LoS” is an area of heavy enforcement: get it wrong, and a contractor can face major penalties.   Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would explain the limitations on subcontracting in plain English?  Well, if you’re a PTAC counselor, you’re in luck. On November 5, 2020,

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

SBA Rule Tamps Down Joint Venture Unequivocal Control Requirement

The SBA’s new rule on Consolidation of Mentor-Protégé Programs contained a lot of updates. One of those was concerned the level of control that a lead joint venture member has to have over a joint venture. In particular, SBA now says that the lead venturer doesn’t have to have unequivocal control as the Office of Hearings and Appeals had suggested in the past. The other joint venture partners can have some say in the joint venture, but how much? Earlier this year, we wrote about an OHA

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

SBA Inspector General Says SBA’s Corrective Actions Have Effectively Resolved 8(a) Eligibility Concerns

SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently inspected SBA’s 2019-2020 corrective actions to determine whether they had effectively reduced the risks previously found in SBA’s 8(a) Program eligibility determinations. Apparently, the OIG liked what it saw. The SBA’s September 15, 2020, OIG Report explains that the OIG first identified the 8(a) Program’s administration as a “top management challenge” for the SBA in 2003. The OIG’s most recent audits identified two significant internal

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

SBA Clarifies How to Calculate Joint Venture Receipts for Small Business Size Purposes

In many industries, small business status under SBA’s government contracting rules depends on a company’s average annual receipts. But if a company is a member of a joint venture, it can be confusing figuring out which joint venture receipts count toward the company’s small business size. Fortunately, in its recent new rule, SBA has provided two important clarifications. Let’s take a look. “Proportionate Share” Means Workshare Currently, the applicable regulation says, “[f]or s

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

SmallGovCon Week in Review: Oct. 19 – Oct. 23, 2020

We’ve made it through another week–well done! I wanted to give a shoutout to the University of Texas San Antonio PTAC. Steven Koprince and I enjoyed discussing some legal updates with them earlier this week. This week, we also explored some key changes from the recent SBA rule on Consolidation of Mentor-Protégé Programs. These included changes regarding replacing the three-in-two joint venture rule, consideration of subcontractor experience, joint venture Facility Security Clearance, and jo

Joint Ventures and the Limitations on Subcontracting: SBA Provides Some Clarity

Joint ventures operating under the SBA’s regulations are subject to two work share restrictions: the limitations on subcontracting, which governs work share between the joint venture and its subcontractors) and the so-called “40 percent rule,” which governs work share between the joint venture partners. It can be easy to get confused about how the rules work together. Fortunately, in a new rule published on October 16, SBA has provided some much-needed clarity. First, SBA clarifie

SmallGovCon Welcomes Quinten Fisher

I am pleased to announce that Quinten Fisher has joined our team of government contracts attorney-authors here at SmallGovCon. Quinten is an associate attorney with Koprince Law LLC, where his practice focuses on federal government contracts law. Before joining our team, Quinten was at a civil litigation firm in Kansas City, where he worked on cases at the state and federal levels and developed useful legal knowledge and skills that enable him to competently advocate for clients. Check out Q

You May Dig Yourself into the Mud by Failing to Use the Standard Form for Your Bid Bond

When required, bid bonds are an essential aspect to a proper bid. Under FAR 52.228-1, they secure the liability of a surety to the government by providing funds to cover the excess costs of awarding to the next eligible bidder if the successful bidder defaults by failing to fulfill these obligations. There is a standard form for bid bonds. Though it’s not required, using the standard form is probably the safest bet to avoid possible rejection of a bid, as one contractor learned the hard way.

SBA Fixes Joint Venture Security Clearance Problem

For joint ventures operating under the SBA’s regulations (including SBA-approved mentor-protege joint ventures), dealing with security clearances has been a particularly vexing issue: some contracting officers have insisted that a joint venture (an unpopulated, limited-purpose entity) separately obtain a Facility Security Clearance, even when both joint venture members hold FCLs. Soon, though, joint venturers will be able to stop worrying about obtaining separate FCLs for their unpopulated j

SBA Requires Consideration of Some Subcontractors’ Capabilities, Experience & Past Performance

It’s commonly misunderstood that the FAR requires procuring agencies to consider the capabilities, past performance and experience of an offeror’s proposed subcontractors. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. But now, as part of a comprehensive new final rule, the SBA will require agencies to consider the capabilities, past performance and experience of small business subcontractors in certain cases. Many people believe that the FAR mandates consideration of a subcontractor’s qualifi

Bye-Bye, “Three-in-Two” Joint Venture Rule

If you’ve attended one of my presentations on joint ventures over the years, you’ve probably heard me climb up on my soapbox and proclaim that the so-called “three in two” joint venture rule is one of my least favorite rules in government contracting. If you ask me, the rule is both terribly confusing and so easily circumvented as to be largely meaningless. Perhaps the SBA was listening to me and others who strongly dislike the rule, because the the three-in-two rule is going away. Effec

Event: Iowa State University CIRAS PTAC Affiliations Webinar

Amidst all the uncertainty that FY 2020 has brought, don’t let your understanding of SBA’s affiliation rules add to that list! Instead, join me and my colleague Steven Koprince for an exciting new learning opportunity. We will be presenting “Affiliations,” a virtual event hosted by the Iowa State University Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) PTAC. In this webinar, we will demystify the concept of affiliation in government contracts. We will explain (in plain English and usin

SmallGovCon Week in Review: Oct. 12 – Oct. 16, 2020

The cold weather we’ve been getting this week might signal the end of the summer tomatoes and basil. But we can start looking forward to fall in earnest. For one thing, my kids are getting excited about Halloween. I hope SmallGovCon readers also have much to be excited about in the beginning of the federal fiscal year. To stay on top of what’s going on in federal contracting, remember to check out our upcoming legal update on October 22, but you can also read on for developments including ex

Alert: SBA Issues Final Rule on Consolidation of Mentor-Protégé Programs and Other Contracting Rules

As we discussed, in late 2019 the SBA issued a proposed rule that would make a number of significant changes to the mentor-protege programs and other small business contracting rules. Well, the SBA will soon issue its final rule on these changes, so make sure you are aware of the new rules. The rule will be effective 30 days after publication date, and it’s scheduled to be published on October 16, making the effective date November 16 (also note that WOSB changes in section 127.504 wil

Event: Small Business Contracting Update & 2021 Preview

Fiscal Year 2020 is officially in the books. For small businesses in government contracting, it was a year of major changes–and many more changes are on their way in FY 2021. On November 22, please join me (virtually!) for “Small Business Contracting Update & 2021 Predictions,” sponsored by the National Contract Management Association, Boston Chapter. I’ll cover the biggest changes in FY 2020, from the HUBZone Program overhaul to WOSB certification to increases in the 8(a) Program ec

Five Things You Should Know: The SDVOSB “Extraordinary Circumstances” Rule

If you’re part of a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, you’ve probably heard of the “extraordinary circumstances” rule–but there’s a lot of confusion out there about what the rule is and how it works. So let’s get right to it. Here are five things you should know about the SDVOSB extraordinary circumstances rule. 1. The extraordinary circumstances rule allows limited negative control by non-service-disabled veterans. To qualify as an SDVOSB for federal contracts, whe

SmallGovCon Week in Review: Oct. 5 – Oct. 9, 2020

Happy Friday blog readers! Hope you are having a nice week. Kick back and relax with the latest federal contracting updates. This week saw some important federal contracting updates. SBA has increased its size standards for certain industries, among them agriculture, mining, some construction industries, as well as transportation and finance and insurance. Additional stories include a contracting officer sentenced for accepting bribes and GSA working on a new small business IT contract. Read

DoD CMMC Requirements Begin Rollout November 30

February of 2020 seems like a long time ago, for many reasons. But that was when the official version of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standards were released. Recently, the DoD issued an interim rule that will update the DFARS to implement the assessment methodology and CMMC framework for DoD procurements as well as add a new requirement for cybersecurity assessment under the NIST SP 800-171 framework. Here are some of the key points. The interim rule will be eff

Playing Games? GAO Requires NASA to Scratch $650 Million Contract Due to Foosball Snafu

While most of our get-togethers these days involve mask wearing, social distancing, and even virtual happy hours, spending time with friends is a great way to keep spirits light. Unfortunately for one group of friends, their weekly hangouts led GAO to conclude in its recent decision, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., B-418835 (Sept. 265, 2020), that NASA had to cancel a more than $650 million deal and start the procurement process all over. Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. and SGT, LLC

House-Passed 2021 NDAA Creates Government-Wide SDVOSB Certification Requirement

Ever since the VA set up its SDVOSB verification program, critics of SDVOSB self-certification have been pushing for the government to expand SDVOSB verification government-wide. Now, it might finally happen. Section 831 of the House of Representatives’ version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act would expand SDVOSB verification government-wide, formally rename it “certification,” and transfer certification authority from the VA to the SBA. Here are some of

SmallGovCon Week in Review: Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, 2020

We’ve been having some great fall weather here in Kansas this week. From what I’ve heard from others around the country (other than the west coast), the cooler weather has definitely arrived. As you break out your sweaters and pumpkin spice . . . everything, check out the latest government contracting updates. This week’s news included record spending at the end of the fiscal year, a report on the VA’s Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor Program, and updates on the Chinese telecom ban. Fe

Limitations on Subcontracting: Step-by-Step, Plain English Guides

In my legal career representing hundreds of small businesses in government contracting, few topics have caused as much confusion as the limitations on how much work can be subcontracted on small business set-aside contracts and sole source contracts (like 8(a) Program direct awards). Earlier, working with my friends at Govology, I put together step-by-step compliance guides for service contractors, construction contractors, manufacturers, and nonmanufacturers. Each guide is written in pla
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