Illinois Passes New Law Exempting Food Service Agreements from Lowest Responsible Bidder Requirement
On June 29, 2022, Governor Pritzker signed Public Act 12-1101 (House Bill 4813) into law, amending Section 10-20.21 of the Illinois School Code, which generally requires contracts that are subject to the bidding process to be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, but also provides a list of contracts exempt from award to the lower responsible bidder. Added to that exempt list under Public Act 12-1101, are now certain food service contracts. The new law went into effect immediately.
To qualify for the exemption, the school district must make a good faith effort to give preference to contracts that:
- Procure food that promotes the health and well-being of students;
- Comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition standards for school meals;
- Promote the production of scratch made, minimally processed food;
- Give preference to locally-sourced products;
- Give preference to food suppliers that use producers that adopt hormone and pest management practices recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
- Give preference to food suppliers that value animal welfare; and
- Increase opportunities for businesses owned and operated by minorities, women, or individuals with disabilities.
To evaluate the factors above, school districts should require food suppliers to submit data including the name and address of each supplier, distributor, processor, and producer involved in the provision of the products that the bidder supplies at the time of the bid.
If you have any questions about bidding requirements, please reach out to any Franczek attorney.
*Liz Becker, a third-year law student at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, is a Loyola Education Practicum Student at Franczek P.C. The Practicum, part of Loyola’s education law curriculum, was created to provide law students with practical experience at education law firms and organizations. Students receive academic credit for their Practicum experience.