Brooklyn Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte has introduced a bundle of legislation that she says will greatly enhance economic opportunities for Minority and Women Owned Enterprises (MWBEs) and subcontractors throughout the state.
As the Assembly and the Senate take on issues relating to MWBEs, Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said “the fight at its core is to continue to break down barriers.”
The first piece of legislation introduced this year by Bichotte, chair of the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), was A8700, “which opened up more discussion on these issues.”
She also re-introduced A8044A, which was passed a few weeks ago.
Bichotte said she has traveled throughout the state and attended many community events, including sessions from the 2016 NYS Disparity Study, and has had an opportunity to hear from a wide range of stakeholders.
She said the legislation she has introduced “is informed by the many MWBEs” she has had an opportunity to come in contact with.
“And it is because of that, this legislation has the potential to transform how MWBEs and subcontractors conduct business in New York State,” she said. Bichotte said the legislation falls mainly into five categories: Increased opportunities for MWBEs by attaching MWBE participation goals, such as those entities receiving real estate tax exemptions, and for sole source contracting; increased resources to expand the pool of certified MWBEs, such as appropriations for outreach, and a feasibility study on capacity building and mentorship programs; and increased transparency and accountability, such as the public sharing of data on MWBEs, companies who have received state contracts, and companies who have received waivers in regard to compliance with MWBE participation.
The other categories are: The way in which prime contractors and subcontractors will be paid and reported on in regard to MWBE contractual relationships, which are primarily MWBEs; and the lifting of barriers, such as the $3.5 million cap on net worth, which limits the capacity and growth of MWBEs.
The 13 pieces of legislation are: A8700 - The purpose of this bill is to help widen opportunities for Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises throughout the State of New York by attaching a MWBE participation goal to any grant received by a locality or municipality, as well as those entities that conduct business with said localities and municipalities; A9074A - the purpose of this bill is to require a minority and women-owned business enterprise participation goal requirement in order to receive exemption of new multiple dwellings from local taxation, such as 421-a.
A9122 – would study what state agencies and industries would benefit most from having a capacity-building/mentorship program, and the duration and cost of such a program.
A9700 – would amend the sole source procurement process so that it will include the solicitation of MWBEs.
A9707 – would help enable under-represented MWBEs to be exposed to government contracting opportunities and resources.
A9708 – would allow the public to see which contracts have received waivers in relation to compliance with MWBE participation.
A9710 – would require contractors to report their contractual relationship throughout the life of the project with MWBEs.
A9733 - the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development would issue an annual report, which will summarize the different information required for their development including breakdowns by race, gender, contract type, value of contract, and number of contractors, both prime and subcontractors.
A9740 – would help stream line the payment process for both prime contractors and sub-contractors.
A9771 – would publish and announce agencies that have entered into a contract with the state.
A9772 – would require that real estate developers that are able to claim certain tax credits, abatements, and exemptions to attach a MWBE goal to their project.
A9774 – would eliminate the requirements that MWBE owners have a personal net worth of less than $3,500,000 in order to obtain certification as a qualifying MWBE.
A9775 would require the NYS comptroller to report on Minority and Women-Owned Business development and contract spending.
“At a time where the wage gap and income equality are at an all-time high, my legislation aims to further enhance the opportunities to incorporate MWBE goals, and create economic development opportunities for MWBEs and the local workforce throughout the state,” Bichotte said. “If passed, this legislation will have a multiplier effect on many local economies.”