Governor Paterson Signs Four MWBE Bills into Law

Governor Paterson Signs Four MWBE Bills into Law

Governor David A. Paterson signed four ground-breaking bills into law, including legislation that will establish a level playing field for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in New York State. Three of the bills were Governor’s Program Bills. 

“With these pieces of legislation, our State is building on its proud history of opening the door to success for any New Yorker who has the talent, drive and passion for their business to succeed,” Governor Paterson said. “But there is still much work to be done to correct disparities in government contracting. By improving equity in the State procurement process and facilitating greater access for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, we help businesses thrive, and we will help our State recover from recession.” 

Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson said: “These bills intend to bring our State procurement process into the 21st Century by removing barriers that have historically prevented women and persons of color from reaching full economic parity with respect to contracting opportunities in this State. By the year 2040 more than 50% of the population of New York State will be made up of what are termed ‘minority groups.’ Large corporations have already sought to prepare for this eventuality by engaging in a process known as 'Supplier Diversity.' New York State has lagged behind even the private sector with respect to its contract expenditures for Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBEs). The four bill package, also known as the New York State Business Diversity Act ensures that the State's fiduciary-controlled entities, public authorities and agencies have developed and codified a strategy aimed at inclusion and meaningful participation of MWBEs across New York State. These bills go a long way to ensure that best-practices are institutionalized and that contracting opportunities are readily available for qualified MWBEs.”

In June 2008, Governor Paterson issued Executive Order No. 10, which established the Task Force on Minority and Women Business Enterprises. As a result of the Executive Order and the work of the Task Force, MWBE participation quadrupled. The firms that are involved with investment banking and the issuance of debt went from 4.2 percent MWBE in 2007 to 23.9 percent now. Under Governor Paterson's leadership, minority and women firms have yielded an increase of $162 million in revenue from prior year levels. With regard to transportation, thirteen percent of stimulus transportation projects have gone to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises – for a total of $146 million dollars and an estimated 3,500 jobs created or saved. 

The following MWBE bills were signed into law: 

Governor’s Program Bill No. 297 (S.8312/ A.11525): Raises the cap on discretionary purchases that a State agency can award to MWBEs or small businesses from $100,000 to $200,000, subject to the agency’s internal controls, but not based on full-blown competitive procurement procedures. 

Governor’s Program Bill No. 298 (S.8313/ A.11526): Expands contracting practices of public authorities granting increased opportunities for MWBE participation. Additionally, requires that the procurement guidelines for each State public authority include the designation of one or more senior staff to oversee the authority’s MWBE program and requires that procurements be conducted to achieve the authority’s MWBE goals to the maximum feasible extent. 

Governor’s Program Bill No. 299 (S.8314/A.11527): Expands and strengthens the State’s program for MWBE contracting, and authorizes a new and more thorough disparity study before the provisions relating to the MWBE program expires in 2014, including in-depth review of contractors’ hiring and promotional practices. This legislation will also create the position of Chief Diversity Officer to oversee the MWBE program and diversity issues in the workforce from within the Executive Chamber. 

Emerging Investment Managers Bill (S.6888/ A.9976): Addresses entities that are not executive agencies, and that control large pools of money for investment: the Comptroller, the State Insurance Fund and the Deferred Compensation Board. This legislation will provide emerging investment managers the ability to invest with MWBE financial institutions and to adopt a strategy that motivates investments in underserved regions of the State. 

These measures address MWBE disparities in government contracting that were outlined in a comprehensive multi-year study and report commissioned by the New York State Department of Economic Development and released in April 2010 – “The State of Minority and Woman Owned Business Enterprise: Evidence from NY.” In March 2010, following a thorough examination of State procurement processes, the Task Force delivered a series of recommendations designed to provide MWBEs with an opportunity to compete for contracts. The Governor incorporated those recommendations into his Program Bills, which were submitted to the Legislature on April 14, 2010. 

The Task Force includes representatives from DASNY, ESD, EFC, the Housing Finance Agency (HFA), the Thruway Authority and members appointed by the Governor including a representative of the Office of State Comptroller and the Governor’s Office. Paul T. Williams Jr., the Executive Director of the Dormitory Authority, has served as the Task Force Chairman.