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Governor's office in Massachusetts announces MWBE participation measures

MA News - Published Mar 04, 2020

Late in Februrary, the administration of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito of Massachusetts launched a series of initiatives intended to promote participation of minority- and woman-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) in government procurement. The measures include both the filing of legislation (An Act to Expand Opportunities for Minority and Women Business Enterprises in Public Construction Projects) as well as administrative changes to the Affirmative Marketing Program (AMP) that take immediate effect.

The proposed Act has two components: increasing the threshold at which a subcontract must be sub-bid from $25,000 to $50,000 (and to include a second threshold that must be met, namely that the total project cost is at least $1 million); and authorizing the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) to set participation goals on subcontracted work on projects over $5 million. The sub-bids involved in these two proposed changes are the process by which an interested subcontractor must participate in a certain process that requires submitting bids to the relevant agency and esuring compliance with a variety of rules of regulations (including around bonding, which can discourage smaller companies and MWBEs). If the threshold at which this sub-bid requirement kicks in is raised, more subcontracts will become easier for MWBEs to have a shot at. Similarly, allowing for MWBE goals on sub-bids can also raise participation.

The administrative changes to AMP allow for DCAMM to split up goals for MBE and WBE participation on government procurement, and also allows for the establishment of per-project participation goals. In addition to these changes, the combined annual participation goals for MWBEs on government procurement will be increased from 10.4 percent to 13 percent in the construction phase, and from 17.9 percent to 21.6 percent in the design phase.

"Our administration is pleased to continue empowering and supporting women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses throughout Massachusetts," said Lt. Governor Polito. "By increasing the goals for participation by women and minority businesses in state contracts, reducing burdens and costs on smaller contractors and expanding access to more public projects, we can promote increased participation and greater inclusion for all businesses."

Read the press release from the Governor's Office at https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-legislation-and-administrative-changes-to-promote.