Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Weber’s Bill Facilitating Contracts for Minorities, Women, and Vets Signed by Governor

(Sacramento, CA) –AB 173, the Small Business Procurement Act for University and Colleges by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown.  Signed into law on September 9, 2013, the legislation will provide higher educational institutions with flexibility to encourage contracting with state-certified small businesses and disabled veteran business enterprises.

“When I was Chair of the Citizens’ Equal Opportunity Commission in San Diego, I helped minority-owned, woman-owned, and disabled veteran owned business owners increase their public contracting opportunities with the City of San Diego, allowing these disadvantaged business owners to become solid competitors in the marketplace,” said Assemblymember Weber.

Current law grants State agencies the option of using a streamlined contract process for small businesses and disabled veteran business enterprises called the “SB/DVBE Option,” which involves contracts up to $250,000.  Under the SB/DVBE Option, public agencies have the flexibility to award contracts in the traditional manner, which includes costly advertising, protests and bidding requirements or the more efficient option of obtaining two quotes from state-certified small businesses and DBVEs.

AB 173 simply extends this contracting option and threshold to California’s Higher Education system. Under current law, the University of California must competitively bid all contracts over $100,000.  For California State Universities and California Community Colleges, they must competitively bid all contracts over $50,000 and $81,000.

These lower thresholds result in many contracts being negotiated through the formal, costly bidding process.  Routinely, the colleges complain that the requirement is cumbersome and time consuming, often taking months to purchase simple items.

This proposal would allow the three systems to use the SB/DVBE Option for contracts up to $250,000.  If the universities want to use formal bidding or the SB/DVBE Option, they can choose whichever works best for them.

“By using the SB/DBVE Option, universities and colleges will not only save time and money with a more streamlined contracting process, but they would also continue to support the procurement of small businesses and DVBEs which are crucial to the state’s economy,” stated Assembly Member Weber.

This bill received strong support in the California State Assembly and Senate and is supported by the University of California, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunity, the Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, and   the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce.

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