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New York State Legislature passes bill raising MWBE discretionary award cap

NY News - Published Jun 24, 2019

The New York State Legislature has recently successfully passed a bill which would raise the cap on New York City's discretionary award limit for minority- and woman-owned businesses (MWBEs) to $500,000, from $150,000. Additionally, legislation was passed which would raise the personal net worth cap for MWBEs from $3.5 million to 15 million, and which added further teeth to MWBE enforcement.

The bills have not yet been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, however.

The bill raising the discretionary cap was sponsored by State Senator Kevin Parker and Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte. The bill also permits the Department of Design and Construction to institute a mentorship program for MWBEs modeled on the Metropolitan Transport Authority's program, and allows for a firm's MWBE status to be added to the criteria used in creating prequalification lists as established by the Procurement Policy Board.

The bill (A08414) amending the MWBE program in raising the personal net worth cap was sponsored by Bichotte as well. In addition to raising the cap, the bill requres contractors to make good-faith efforts to retain MWBEs before applying for waivers, enforces greater transparency around the waivers, increases the MWBE certification period from three years to five years, and requires new MWBE goals based on the 2016 disparity study, among other changes. 

In a statement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed the passage of the legislation relating to the discretionary spending cap, saying "Our city is fairer and more vibrant when everyone – regardless of race, gender or ethnicity – has an opportunity to participate in our economy."

A press release from the legislature may be read at https://nyassembly.gov/Press/files/20190620a.php