Thu, July 18, 2024

Bill levels playing field in competition for state contracts

During his visit to Augusta on Monday, Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 128 which ensures equity for minority, women, and veteran owned businesses vying for state contracts.

“It is going to streamline and expand access to state certifications for minority, women and veteran owned businesses as they navigate the procurement process for contracts,” Kemp explained. “This bill came out of the executive order issued last July directing the Department of Administrative Services to address the challenges these businesses faced in the procurement process. The shared goal of that executive order and of House Bill 128 is straightforward: To cut red tape and support small businesses and this bill certainly does that. It will also help increase competition within the procurement process.”

Kemp said that increased competition can result in contracts with lower costs to provide the best value to Georgia taxpayers.

“We have to make sure we understand that minorities and women owned businesses, they don’t have a big majority of contracts here in Augusta-Richmond County,” said District One Commissioner Jordan Johnson. “But we can’t stop here. Augusta has to pass the findings from our disparity study as well. We have to take the next step to make it more essential to our local government and how we do business with minorities and women owned businesses. I think that this is a good step in the right direction, we just have to make sure to carry on and follow through with the commitment.”

House Bill 128 was passed by the Georgia General Assembly during the just concluded 2023 legislative session. Among the sponsors in the state house was District 103 Representative Soo Hong. It was sponsored in the state senate by Mike Hodges of Georgia’s 3rd District.

The bill covers all types of contracts available from the state government: “’State contract’ means a contract for the purchase by the state of goods, property, or services or for the construction of any building or structure for the state, which contract is executed by any department, board, bureau, commission, or agency of state government, by any state authority, or by any officer, official, employee, or agent of any of the foregoing,” reads the legislation.

Kemp said Georgia is ranked as the number one state with which to do business, a position it has held for nine years in a row. Augusta Business Daily asked the governor how Georgia can use HB 128 as an enticement to get new businesses to set up shop in Georgia.

“It’s designed just to make sure everybody’s getting equal access to state procurement and making sure that all businesses have good opportunity in our state,” he replied. “That’s really what we’re focused on with that. But it’s not just that. It’s also us listening to them understanding, what hurdles that they’re seeing out there and helping them compete for government business.”

Kemp also signed Senate Bill 213, which was sponsored by District 23 Senator Max Burns. Its goal is to provide relief to owners of manufactured housing. It allows property owners to replace an existing manufactured home with a new one without facing “bureaucratic restrictions.” He said it will be especially beneficial to those who lose their home in a natural disaster. He said it also protects individual property rights and prevents homeowners from being priced out of their community.

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