WSR 02-20-106




[ Filed October 2, 2002, 9:42 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: Adding socially and economically disadvantaged business enterprises to the state minority and women's business enterprise program.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 39.19 RCW.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Since 1983, the state has had a minority and women's business program. In 1987, the legislature expanded the office's certification authority to include socially and economically disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs). Currently, the office certifies businesses in the latter category only for projects involving United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) funding in Washington state. A joint memorial passed by the legislature in 2000, requested the office to consider certifying businesses owned and controlled by persons with disabilities for the state program. The DBE designation, unlike the minority or women's designation, allows for certification without regard to race or gender; provided, the disadvantage is the result of the individual's condition e.g., disability or culture.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The office has exclusive authority to certify firms as socially and economically disadvantaged business enterprises in the state of Washington. RCW 39.19.120, the USDOT has rules governing determinations of eligibility for this status at the federal level. These rules are based on guidance from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The office currently certifies firms for the federal program using the approach set forth in the federal regulations. The state program will substantially adopt these regulations as well.

Process for Developing New Rule: This is a rule that will govern the actions of the office and is not subject to violation by a nongovernment party.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by sending written comments to Clarence Gillis, Business and Policy Development Manager, Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises, P.O. Box 41160, Olympia, WA 98504-1160, fax (360) 586-7079.

October 2, 2002

Juan Huey-Ray

Acting Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office