Oberlander’s Bill to Enhance Competitiveness of Diverse Businesses Headed to Governor
HARRISBURG – Diverse businesses in Pennsylvania will be better able to compete globally under legislation that is on its way to the governor’s desk, said Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest), author of the legislation.

“Diverse businesses are those owned by women, veterans and minorities, and they are an important part of our community,” Oberlander said. “They are local job creators and provide both goods and services needed here at home, around the country and across the globe. However, 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 address the situation and make it right.”

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.

The bill, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously, 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.

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.

“This proposal is not intended to change or compete with our existing small businesses, but would put larger diverse/disadvantaged businesses on a level playing field nationally and globally,” she added. “I am thankful for my colleagues in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle for their unanimous support of this bill. I am hopeful the governor will realize the positive consequences and sign it quickly.”

Once reaching the governor, he has 10 days in which to act on the bill.

Representative Donna Oberlander
63rd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
RepOberlander.com / Facebook.com/RepOberlander

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