Section 1 amends Minnesota Statutes, section 161.321, the small business contracts section of law in the trunk highway chapter of statutes. Several changes are clarifying. Subdivisions that contain substantive changes are:
Subdivision 1a states legislative findings that: (1) businesses that are owned and operated by women, people with physical disabilities, and minorities are underutilized in highway contracts; (2) race- and gender-conscious measures are needed to correct the impact of past discrimination; and (3) the state’s interest in remedying discrimination in the highway construction industry through a targeted group business program is a compelling interest.
Subdivision 2 strikes provisions relating to the current small business set-aside program. These provisions are restated and expanded in subdivision 2a. It also expands the four percent preference allowed to small businesses in economically disadvantaged area. Current law allows this preference for procurement; the bill applies the preference to “specified construction work.”
Subdivision 2a restates the current state law that allows the commissioner to set goals binding on the prime contractor relating to use of subcontractors that are small targeted group businesses and veteran-owned small businesses. The subdivision adds a requirement that prime contractors demonstrate good faith effort to meet goals.
Subdivision 4a requires periodic reevaluation by the Commissioners of Transportation and Administration of disparity between the percentage of targeted group businesses and all contruction businesses, and the percentage of use of targeted group businesses in construction contracts.