House Approves Oberlander’s Bill to Enhance Competitiveness of Diverse Businesses
HARRISBURG – Legislation designed to allow diverse businesses to better compete globally has received unanimous approval in the state House this week, said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest).

“Businesses owned by women, veterans and minorities are important parts of our community by providing jobs, goods and services to our friends and neighbors, and they are entitled to a level playing field in competing in the global market,” said Oberlander. “Many of these diverse businesses qualify for specific programs or procurements but are unable to apply because they are not formally recognized in the Commonwealth. This legislation seeks to remedy that situation.”

House Bill 1653 would require the state Department of General Services to establish a process to formally recognize all Pennsylvania-based minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses – also known as “diverse/disadvantaged” businesses -- to make it easier to do business. It would also require the state agency to compile, maintain and make available source lists of businesses it formally recognizes to encourage procurement from those businesses. This would allow these types of businesses to grow and compete in the national economy.

Oberlander emphasized that this legislation would not change or compete with our small businesses, but would put larger diverse/disadvantaged businesses on a level playing field nationally and globally.

Currently, the state requires diverse/disadvantaged businesses to rely on third-party organizations to verify that they are recognized as such businesses. Unfortunately, this requirement only applies to recognized diverse/disadvantaged small businesses while other states and third-party organizations provide a distinction between small businesses and businesses that don’t meet the Small Business Act requirements. This, in turn, contradicts the efforts of this Commonwealth by stifling the growth of these businesses.

The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Donna Oberlander
63rd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
717.705.2094 /
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