WSR 99-05-082

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

OFFICE OF MINORITY

AND WOMEN'S BUSINESS ENTERPRISES

[ Filed February 17, 1999, 11:44 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: WAC 326-30-041 Annual goals.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 39.19.030(7).

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Recent changes in state law expressly prohibit discrimination based on race or gender in public contracting unless it is prerequisite for federal funding. Recent changes in federal regulations reaffirm requirements to maintain a minority and women's business enterprises program to ensure continued federal funding assistance. The state's soon-to-be-released disparity study indicates that there is a disparity between the participation of businesses owned by white males and that of businesses owned by minorities and/or women. Specifically, businesses owned by white males are over utilized given their percentage in the pool of businesses available to the state. Further, the study indicates that the underutilization of businesses owned by minorities and women is statistically significant and cannot be attributed to chance.

The office is considering the establishment of overall annual goals by race and gender. These goals would not be contract-specific and implementation would be designed to emphasize nondiscrimination rather than goal attainment. Other changes under consideration include, but are not limited to, further delineation of classes of contract, goals by geographic region (Eastern and Western Washington) and goals for direct and indirect contracting (prime and subcontracting).

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The office is meeting with representatives of the United States Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Small Business Administration to ensure the state remains in compliance as it restructures its program.

Process for Developing New Rule: Comments from the affected business communities and state organizations will be solicited directly.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Juan Huey-Ray, Rules Coordinator, phone (360) 704-1188, fax (360) 586-7079, Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises, P.O. Box 41160, Olympia, WA 98504-1160. All comments must be received by April 27, 1999.

February 12, 1999

James A. Medina

Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office