Section 44J. (1) No public agency or authority of the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof shall award any contract for which competitive bids are required pursuant to section forty-four A of this chapter or section thirty-nine M of chapter thirty, or for which competitive proposals are required pursuant to subsection (4) of section forty-four E of this chapter or section eleven C of chapter twenty-five A, unless a notice inviting bids or proposals therefor shall have been posted no less than one week prior to the time specified in such notice for the receipt of said bids or proposals in a conspicuous place in or near the offices of the awarding authority, and shall have remained posted until the time so specified, and unless such notice shall also have been published at least once not less than two weeks prior to the time so specified in the central register published by the secretary of state pursuant to section twenty A of chapter nine and in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the proposed project. Said notice shall also be published at such other times and in such other newspapers or trade periodicals as the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance may require, having regard to the locality of the work involved.
(2) Said notice shall specify the time and place where plans and specifications of the proposed work may be had; the time and place of submission of general bids; and the time and place for opening of the general bids. For contracts subject to the provisions of sections forty-four A to H, inclusive, of this chapter, said notice shall also specify the time and place for submission of filed sub-bids, where required pursuant to section forty-four F; and the time and place for opening of said filed sub-bids.
Said notice shall also provide sufficient facts concerning the nature and scope of such project, the type and elements of construction, and such other information as will assist applicants in deciding to bid on such contract.
(3) No contract or preliminary plans and specifications shall be split or divided for the purpose of evading the provisions of this section.
(4) General bids and filed sub-bids for any contract subject to this section shall be in writing and shall be opened in public at the time and place specified in the posted or published notice, and after being so opened shall be open to public inspection.
(5) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any transaction between the commonwealth and any public service corporation.
(6) The provisions of this section may be waived in cases of extreme emergency involving the health and safety of the people and their property, upon the written approval of said commissioner. The written approval shall contain a description of the circumstances and the reasons for the commissioner's determination.
(7) Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, or by both said fine and imprisonment; and in the event of final conviction, said person shall be incapable of holding any office of honor, trust or profit under the commonwealth or under any county, district of municipal agency.
Each and every person who shall cause or conspire to cause any contract or preliminary plans and specifications to be split or divided for the purpose of evading the provisions of this section shall forfeit and pay to the commonwealth, a political subdivision thereof or other awarding authority subject to this section, the sum of not more than five thousand dollars and, in addition, such person or persons shall pay, apportioned among them, double the amount of damages which the commonwealth or political subdivision thereof or other awarding authority may have sustained by reason of the doing of such act, together with the costs of the action.
(8) If an awarding authority rejects all general bids or does not receive any general bids, and advertises for a second opening of general bids with the original filed sub-bids as set forth in subsection (1) of section forty-four E the notice for receipt of such general bids may be published in the central register and elsewhere as required not less than one week prior to the time specified for such second opening of general bids.
(9) No request for proposals or invitation for bids issued under sections 38A1/2 to 38O, inclusive, of chapter 7, section 11C of chapter 25A, section 39M of chapter 30, this section and sections 44A to 44H, inclusive, shall be advertised if the awarding authority's cost estimate is greater than 1 year old.