Governor of Georgia, Brian P. Kemp, in a significant move to support and empower minority-owned businesses in our “Peach State,” signed House Bill 128 (HB 128) into law on April 24th, 2023. This landmark legislation will address the challenges small businesses face, particularly those owned by minorities, women, and veterans, in the state’s procurement process.
These minority groups will reap several benefits from this bill, which will also pave inroads for their businesses. Let’s delve into the details of this bill and understand its implications for minority businesses in Georgia.
Georgia House Bill 128, sponsored by Representative Soo Hong and co-sponsored by several representatives, received overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of the General Assembly. The bill directly resulted from Governor Kemp’s executive order, issued in July 2022, which directed the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) to streamline the state procurement process and address small businesses' hurdles.
The bill relating to revenue and taxation provides a “representation of minority business enterprises, women-owned businesses, and veteran-owned businesses in the area of procurement of state contracts for construction, services, equipment, and goods; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”
In summary, the bill effectively cuts the red tape that previously limited minority businesses so that state contracts can come at the lowest cost in the future, and Georgia stays on course as the best state for these minority groups to find opportunities.
Here are some of the ways minority businesses will be affected by this bill;
HB 128 simplifies the state certification process, making it easier for minority-owned businesses to access and achieve. The bill eliminates unnecessary bureaucracy and ensures that serious minority businesses can efficiently navigate the certification requirements.
The bill expands opportunities for minority-owned businesses within the state procurement process. It levels the playing field for businesses in the state to better compete for state contracts, leading to increased economic growth and development.
By this bill, the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) is authorized to verify and accept certifications from other certifying organizations. This new provision thus allows minority-owned businesses to leverage their existing certifications, saving time and effort in procuring contracts.
Minority businesses play an essential role in the economy and society, offering many unique perspectives, contributions, and opportunities where they are allowed to thrive. Recognizing their importance, HB 128 focuses on these businesses for many significant reasons thus:
Minority-owned businesses contribute to job creation, economic resilience, and innovation, fostering a vibrant and diverse business landscape. This bill will bolster Georgia’s overall economic prosperity, improve employment figures, and increase the entrance of more minority-owned businesses into the Georgia business scene.
Minority-owned businesses often celebrate and preserve the cultural heritage of the diverse races and cultures that run these businesses, adding richness to their host communities. HB 128 acknowledges and appreciates the diverse cultural tapestry of Georgia by providing avenues for these businesses to thrive.
The legislation promotes equity by leveling the playing field and removing the barriers that minority-owned businesses ordinarily face. It empowers entrepreneurs from marginalized communities, enabling them to build successful enterprises and generational wealth.
The signing of HB 128 marks a significant step forward in recognizing the importance of minority-owned businesses in Georgia. The Bill fosters economic growth, cultural diversity, and empowerment by cutting red tape and creating a more inclusive procurement process. With the implementation of HB 128, Georgia is taking tangible strides toward becoming a state where opportunities abound for everyone, regardless of background or identity.
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