Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Technology & Economic Development Committee

HB 1674

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Increasing the regulatory oversight and accountability of the office of minority and women's business enterprises.

Sponsors: Representatives Santos, Morris and Maxwell.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires the Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE) to impose a penalty if a person, firm, corporation, or business commits a statutorily prohibited activity.

  • Establishes an investigation unit within the OMWBE.

Hearing Date: 2/13/13

Staff: Jennifer Thornton (786-7147).


The Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE) was created in 1983 with the statutory purpose of providing minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) the maximum practicable opportunity for increased participation in public works contracts and public contracts for goods and services. Among other things, the OMWBE is required to:

The OMWBE is the sole authority for certifying minority, women-owned, and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses throughout the state of Washington. The programs for which OMWBE certifies businesses include:

Between April and November of 2012, KING 5 issued a series of investigational reports titled “Fraud on the Job," pertaining to OMWBE certifications for participation in the DOT DBE program.

Summary of Bill:

The language permitting the OMWBE to impose a penalty if a person, firm, corporation, or business does not comply with any of OMWBE's statutory provisions or contract requirements is modified so that:

A unit is established within the OMWBE to detect and investigate fraud and violations. Qualified personnel are to be employed, and the director and unit personnel are authorized to receive criminal record information associated with investigations. The director or director's designee may subpoena witnesses, and are granted enforcement authority under the Administrative Procedures Act.

Funds collected by imposing civil penalties are deposited in the OMWBE's account in the custody of the state treasurer.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.