With the opening of the 2019-2020 legislative session with a stronger New York State Assembly and a Democratic Majority in the Senate, Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichottee, chair of the Oversight of the Minority Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) Subcommittee in the State Assembly, said she was “hopeful for the future of MWBEs.”
Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said on Friday that she sponsored a bill, during the Assembly’s last session, “that allows minority and women entrepreneurs who are veterans to submit their DD 214 form as verification of their status as MWBEs.
“This bill was signed into law and chaptered, with help from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Veterans’ Chamber of Commerce,” said the daughter of Haitian immigrants. “But we still have much to do.”
Last session, she said she advocated for a five-year extension of the MWBE program, Article 15-A.
But, she said, the program was renewed only until December 2018.
“Although detractors have claimed that MWBE goals slow down projects when companies cannot find enough MWBE contractors to hit the target, the answer is not to scrap the MWBE program,” Bichotte said.
Last year’s NYC Disparity Study reports that there is a 50.69 percent availability of MWBEs in the city, and the 2016 NYS Disparity Study reports an availability of 53.05 percent of MWBEs “ready and willing to do business with the state,” Bichotte said.
Accordingly, in the current session, she said she will “double down” on her prior initiatives.
Bichotte said these include but are not limited to: Extending Article 15-A, the MWBE program, for five more years; implementing workforce goals for hiring minority and women in the construction related industry; eliminating the $3.5 million personal net worth cap for minority and women-owned businesses; and creating mentorship capacity programs for MWBE and small businesses in all state agencies.
“My office is always available to serve as a resource for the MWBE community, dedicated to ensuring an inclusive and diverse marketplace where MWBEs can thrive,” she said.