April 1, 2019

Senate Passes Hayes Bill to Streamline Minority Business Certification Process

In a Friday Senate vote, the body passed legislation (Senate Bill 983) that would streamline Maryland’s Minority Business Enterprise certification process. The legislation sponsored by Senator Antonio Hayes (District 40 – Baltimore City) would allow state officials to certify such businesses as Maryland Minority Business Enterprises if they produce evidence of federal certification as a federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

In a March 12th hearing for the legislation, Senator Hayes noted: “This process, laid out in the bill, would make it more efficient for allowing MDOT (the Maryland Department of Transportation) to certify businesses as small or Minority Business Enterprises if the business is federally certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.” He followed: “This streamlined process would free up Maryland to address its backlog. It would also help increase the pool of MBE’s that can compete for contracts in Maryland.”

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation: “In 1978, Maryland’s General Assembly enacted legislation to create a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program to encourage minority-owned firms to participate in the State procurement process.  Current MBE law requires agencies to make every effort to achieve an overall minimum goal of 29% of the total dollar value of their procurement contracts directly or indirectly from certified MBE firms.” According to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT): “The USDOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program  aims to increase the participation of minority and women owned businesses in state and local transportation projects that are funded by the Department through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).”

Hayes is the lead Senate sponsor of the legislation and is joined in co-sponsorship by four Senate colleagues including Senators Augustine (District 47 – Prince George’s), Ellis (D- District 28), Griffith (District 25 – Prince George’s), and Smith (District 20 – Montgomery). The bill is cross-filed in the House of Delegates as House Bill 284. House Bill 284 is sponsored by Delegate Jazz Lewis (District 24 – Prince George’s).

Senate Bill 983 now moves to the House of Delegates for consideration. House Bill 284 has passed the House of Delegates and is now similarly before the Senate for consideration. No new hearing information for Senate Bill 983 is available at this time. All legislation must successfully pass both the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates by Sine Die on Monday, April 8th to be sent to Governor Hogan to be approved or vetoed.