The Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) recently came out in opposition to pending legislation in the Texas State Legislature which would revise the state's Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program. In a press release, TAMACC spoke against the legislation together with the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce (TAAACC) and the U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association of Austin.
The legislation in question is HB1565 and HB3362, both currently being considered by the State Affairs Committee of the Texas House of Representatives. Under the current provisions of the Texas HUB Program, a business must be at least 51 percent owned by an Asian Pacific American, a Black American, a Hispanic American, a Native American, an American woman or a service-disabled veteran to be certified as a HUB. The bills under consideration in the legislature would add to this list businesses that are at least 51% owned by persons with a qualified disability as described under 42 U.S.C. Section 12102, which provides for a definition of disability for the purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Opponents of the legislation (including TAMACC) argued that while discrimination against the disabled community in the realm of state contracting exists, a pre-existing program under Texas Human Resource Code 122 provides methods for Texas governmental entities to achieve "conformity with requirements of nondiscrimination and affirmative action in employment matters related to persons with disabilities", and that this program could be strengthened in its own right.
Critics of the pending legislation further argued that it would "[dilute] the HUB program and in effect [negate] the very purpose for which it was created", and that the ability to investigate abuses under the new rules would be limited, given that doctors would make the determinations of invididuals fitting the criteria of being disabled, and that those determinations would in many respects be shielded from investigation by medical privacy laws.
To read HB1565, visit https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB1565
To read HB3362, visit https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB3362