Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprises
Governor David A. Paterson today submitted legislation to expand the procurement opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in New York State.
The Governor’s Program Bill would enact the recommendations made by the MWBE Task Force, which the Governor created to review the State’s utilization of MWBE underwriters and other professional services. Their final report, issued last month, outlined legislation to improve MWBE access to procurement processes and promote the use of MWBE and non-MWBE firms that have sound diversity practices.
“New York is the business capital of the world, leading the way toward prosperity, and as such we should be leaders in minority entrepreneurship,” Governor Paterson said. “The legislation that I have submitted today will ensure that the progress of the MWBE Task Force continues for years to come, bringing permanent change and reform to the way New York does business. By doing so, we not only help businesses thrive, we will help our State recover from recession.”
The proposed legislation would provide a framework so that MWBEs may participate in the State’s procurements and establishes standards to hold State agencies and public authorities accountable for their commitment to MWBE participation and diversity in the area of procurement. The legislation would also ensure that State entities review the proposer’s employment practices and hiring practices, wherever practicable, feasible and appropriate, to promote the State’s interest in contracting with firms with a commitment to a diverse workforce.
The key provisions of the legislation would:
- Require the Director of the Division of Minority and Women Owned Business Development (“DMWBD”) to set regulations requiring State agencies to assess the diversity practices of contractors submitting bids or proposals in connection with the award of a State contract, where practicable, feasible and appropriate.
- Require appointing officials to consider the prospective diversity of a public authority board when making a determination to appoint a member.
- Increase from $100,000 to $200,000 the amount of goods and services the State can purchase without a formal competitive process from MWBEs and small businesses, or when they are recycled.
- Enhance the penalties for contractors that willfully or intentionally disregard their responsibilities to utilize MWBE firms. Such enhanced penalties include debarment of contractors from submitting bids to any contracting agency for a period of up to one year, or up to five years if a second violation occurs within a five-year period.
The legislation would also require that each State authority’s procurement guidelines do the following:
- Designate one or more senior staff of the authority to oversee the authority’s programs established to promote and assist participation by MWBE enterprises in the authority’s procurement contracts and to promote sound diversity practices on the part of other contractors, suppliers and consultants engaged by the authority;
- Require broad outreach to MWBEs;
- Establish appropriate goals for participation by MWBEs in procurement contracts awarded by the authority and for the utilization of MWBEs as subcontractors and suppliers by entities having procurement contracts with the authority;
- Require that the evaluation criteria for awarding any procurement contract (other than contracts required by law to be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder pursuant to sealed bids) include an assessment of the proposer’s diversity practices to the extent practicable, feasible and appropriate; and
- Enhance reporting with respect to the utilization of MWBEs and the submission of an annual report by the DMWBD assessing the effectiveness of each State entity’s MWBE program. Require that the annual procurement report prepared by every State authority include a listing of all contracts entered into with a certified MWBE, including the subject matter and value of such contracts and a summary of all complaints referred to DMWBD.
“This legislation lays the foundation for a new generation of business owners who will create economic opportunities for people who desperately need it. Together we will renew the promise of our State and rekindle the spirit of entrepreneurship that has made New York the Empire State,” Governor Paterson added.