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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 10, 2021 05:06 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes and Sen. Camera Bartolotta
To: All Senate members
Subject: Updating the Procurement and Military and Veterans Affairs Codes to improve participation of small, diverse, and veteran businesses
In the near future, we plan on introducing legislation to update the small and disadvantaged business and veteran-owned business provisions of the Procurement and Military and Veteran Affairs Codes to increase and enhance participation of small, diverse, and veteran businesses in state and local procurement opportunities.

In late 2018, a Commonwealth commissioned disparity study was released.  The study found that both small diverse and veteran businesses fell well below the disparity index level.  Falling below the disparity index means that these small diverse and veteran businesses are greatly underrepresented in state contracting.

Since the results of the disparity study were released, the Department of General Services (DGS) has worked tirelessly to increase the participation of small diverse and veteran businesses in the procurement process.  While significant progress has been made by DGS since the disparity report was released, more needs to be done.  This proposal will help further the goals of DGS, as well as put the Commonwealth more in line with programs run by other states.

Under our legislation, DGS’ existing duties relating to small disadvantaged businesses and veteran-owned businesses would be updated and enhanced.  First, the small disadvantaged businesses would be rebranded as small diverse businesses to align with current program terminology.  Next, the current classification of what is considered a small business, which includes a 100 employee limit that applies to all businesses, would be updated to allow DGS to set size requirements on an industry-by-industry basis to more accurately reflect the many different types of businesses that perform work for the state.

A new provision would be added to the Procurement Code to encourage and increase participation by small diverse businesses in construction and design professional services such as engineering and architecture.  The bill would also update various provisions in the Procurement Code to reflect the changes outlined.  Finally, DGS would be required to complete a disparity study every five years which shall be used by the Secretary of DGS to set aspirational targets of small diverse participation.  Provisions that mirror the small diverse provisions would also be added for veteran-owned businesses.

We hope that you will join us in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB900