Below are some highlights of the new legislation, courtesy of Albany Times Union.
- Increasing the “Personal Net Worth” cap from $3.5 million to $15 million, thereby minimizing an unnecessary barrier to participation while also allowing for regulations to raise the cap above $15 million on an industry by industry basis;
- Requiring contractors to make a good faith effort to retain an MWBE subcontractor before they are able to apply for a waiver;
- Requiring waivers to be reported quarterly at a minimum, and in some cases monthly, to the Division of MWBE;
- Requiring waivers to be posted on the websites of contracting agencies to promote greater transparency;
- Requiring increased annual reporting by the State Division of MWBE and the contracting agencies regarding expenditures by the state that are exempt from program goals, four year growth plans by agencies, annual participation rates for each agency, total number of MWBEs in the reporting year, and total dollar value spent on MWBE contracts and subcontracts;
- Establishing new goals for the program based on the results of the 2016 disparity study;
- Increasing the period of time that businesses are certified from three to five years;
- Increasing the discretionary threshold from $200,000 to $500,000;
- Requiring contracting agencies to establish four year growth plans regarding the utilization of MWBEs;
- Authorizing the Division of MWBE to establish outreach events, training seminars and educational opportunities throughout the state
- Establishing a “Workforce Diversity Program” which would require state agencies doing construction projects to meet aspirational goals for a diverse workforce.
Another bill was passed that was designed to help support MWBEs in New York City by making the following updates to the New York City MWBE Program:
- Allowing agencies to make procurements of goods and services for up to $500,000 from MWBEs without a formal competitive bidding process;
- Adding a firm’s status as an MWBE to the criteria that may be used in creating a pre-qualified procurement list;
- Creating a small business and MWBE mentorship program in the New York City Department of Design and Construction;
- Enhancing the ability of MWBEs to compete for contracts with both New York City schools and the School Construction Authority.