Rep. Bob Hasegawa

“My bill went through a dramatic transformation in the Senate,” said state Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle) about his House Bill 1096, which had the original intent of granting a bidding preference for in-state small businesses. “While it’s not ideal, it’s still a good start and on the long run this measure will increase the number of small-businesses participating in state contracts.” The main goal of the bill awaiting Gov. Gregoire’s signature is to ensure that small businesses have a fair opportunity to be awarded contracts or subcontracts for goods and services purchased by the state. To do so, purchasing agencies will develop a plan to increase the annual number of small businesses receiving state contracts. Hasegawa’s bill passed out of the House of Representatives back in early February with very strong support. Its intent was to give Washington’s in-state small businesses a bidding preference of 5 percent. But the version passed by the Senate on a vote of 42-5 removes the bidding preference and, instead, requires the departments of General Administration, Information Services, and Transportation to increase the number of small businesses receiving state contracts for goods and services by 50 percent by 2012, and by 100 percent by 2014. “There should be equity of opportunity in the state’s purchasing system,” stressed Hasegawa. “Because small businesses are the backbone of our local economies, provide most of our jobs, and will lead our way out of this economic recession.”

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