Bi-Partisanship at Work; A Most Unusual Assemblage

The Governor did a formal signing ceremony today for HB 122 and SB 662, which passed the General Assembly in 2006, and became law on July 1, 2006.

While the bills were important to the 98% of Virginia businesses that are small businesses, the most interesting thing about today’s event may have been the bi-partisan (some would say wildly divergent) group that constituted the bills’ chief patrons.

What could unite Republican Caucus Chair Delegate Steve Landes (R Augusta), House Minority Leader Delegate Frank Hall (D Richmond), Legislative Black Caucus Chair Delegate Dwight Jones (D Richmond), Senator Yvonne Miller (D Norfolk) and Delegate Bob Marshall (R Manassas)? The answer is: legislation that serves the twin purposes of: 1) improving the operations of the state’s department of minority business enterprises and its SWAM procurement programs; and 2) streamlining/deregulating the paperwork burdens of the state’s current small, women and minority business certification programs.

The new legislation reflected a priority goal of the National association of Women Business Owners to reduce the paperwork burden of and duplication in the various state, local, national and private certification programs regularly imposed on minority, women and small business owners seeking state, federal and private contracts.

As recommended by NAWBO’s Procurement Task Force, this legislation requires the department of minority business enterprises to issue regulations governing the certification of the certifiers. The idea is that once the state has reviewed and approved a certification program, a vendor that obtains certification from that source would not have to get any other certification from any state or local certifier in order to qualify to do business with any state or local agency.

If implemented as expected, this will mean that any small, woman or minority owned business that is certified 8(a), SDB or DBE by the federal Small Business Administration or the any agency recognized by the federal Department of Transportation, any woman owned business certified by WBENC or NWBOC and any minority business certified by the VMSDC will not have to have any additional certification to do business with Virginia or any of its counties, cities and towns.

As Martha Stewart would say, that is a “good thing” for all of us Virginia taxpayers. If the small businesses that are the engine of our economy can spend less time on paperwork and more on making money, the business wins, the economy wins and the state wins two ways — more revenues and a competitive business environment in which to seek to procure goods and services at the lowest possible price.

Would that the strange assemblage of patrons on this legislation could come together more often to seek a common goal and serve a common purpose that benefits us all.

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3 responses to “Bi-Partisanship at Work; A Most Unusual Assemblage”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Anything that cuts paperwork and lowers barriers to entry for small businesses is a good thing. It’s nice to see people come together on this.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    And anything that mandates quotas or set asides for small businesses or those with green storefronts or which open on odd numbered days REDUCES competition on cost and quality and will cost the taxpayers more. Nice? It’s typical to see politicians patting themselves on the back for using their power to rob my purse. There is no difference between hiring quotas, enrollment quotas and purchasing quotas.

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    The actually is a ‘Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise”. Wow. How much is their annual budget? Good place to start cutting spending.

    The government contracting for minorities business is a racist, sexist scam. It increases the costs of government doing business at any level of government that has the set asides, quotas, etc.

    The idea that minorities and women need special government help in 2006 should be insulting – except its a way to get more money for some.

    The idea of ‘protected classes of persons’ is anathema to the Declaration and the Constitution.

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