HARRISBURG – Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Vincent Hughes (D-7) unveiled the Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunity (DISBO) legislation they sponsored to improve the participation of small diverse and veteran businesses in state and local procurement opportunities.
In 2018, a Commonwealth-commissioned disparity study found that both small diverse and veteran businesses are greatly underrepresented in state contracting.
Under Senate Bill 900, the Department of General Services’ (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 for all businesses, would be updated to allow DGS to create industry-specific size requirements to better reflect the many different types of businesses that perform work for the state.
“The goal of this legislation is simple – to provide an immediate and meaningful impact by expanding opportunities for these businesses to compete for and be utilized in state contracts. This issue resonates with me considering I was a small business owner for many years and am familiar with the unique challenges that come with operating and maintaining a business. That is why I know how important this legislation is in helping small diverse and veteran businesses to not only compete for state work, but also to grow and contribute to our economy,” Senator Bartolotta said.
Under the bill, DGS would also 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.
CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463