On September 14, 2015, the Small Business Administration published its final rule implementing new regulations for awards to Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB). Now, as with other "special status" concerns such as 8(a) and Service Disabled Veteran Owned businesses, women-owned businesses will have access to set-aside and sole-source contracting opportunities. The legal basis for this final rule is §825 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.

 

Under the current WOSB program, SBA reports that WOSBs received approximately $15 billion in contract actions according to FY 2013 small-business goaling reports. The new sole-source authority for awards to EDWOSBs and WOSBs can only be used where a contracting officer’s market research cannot identify two or more WOSBs or EDWOSBs that can perform at a fair and reasonable price but identifies one that can perform. WOSB and EDWOSB competitive set-asides and sole-source contracts can only be awarded in those industries for which WOSB and EDWOSB opportunities are authorized.

 

The final rule announced in the Federal Register is attached here and becomes effective October 14, 2015.

 

The 2015 Mississippi Legislature has made a number of changes to the statutes governing the Mississippi State Board of Contractors, Miss. Code Ann. §§ 31-3-1, et seq. and Miss. Code Ann. §§ 73-59-1, et seq. The enumerated changes are found in Senate Bill 2508 [click here for SB 2508], which have been sent to the Governor for his signature. Listed below are some of the changes:

     

  • Demolition is added to the list of activities covered by the statute for which a certificate of responsibility will be required.

     

  • The thirty (30) day waiting period for an application for a Certificate of Responsibility has been removed.

     

  • The number of entities for which a qualifying party may appear is limited to three (3) unless special permission is granted.

     

  • Grants the Board of Contractors to issue citations to any commercial or residential contractor preforming work with a Certificate of Responsibility and may order the work to be stopped.

     

  • The definition of "resident contractor" has been clarified to include a nonresident person, firm or corporation that has been qualified to do business in this state and has maintained a permanent full-time office in the State of Mississippi for two (2) years prior to submission of the bid.

 

     

  • Board of Contractors now has the authority to issue public reprimands for violations of the statutes and/or regulations.

     

  • The appeal process for commercial and residential contractors from a decision of State Board of Contractors has been clarified and defines content of administrative record which is to be considered on appeal.

     

  • The Board of Contractors has that authority to require residential builders and remodelers issued licenses after July 1, 2015, to have two (2) hours of continuing education per year.

Commercial and residential contractors and subcontractors should read these amended statutes and check the website for the Mississippi State Board of Contractors at http://www.msboc.us/ for any changes to its Rules and Regulations resulting from these legislative changes.

Effective March 14, 2011, a final rule by the Small Business Administrations implements important changes to various regulations affecting size status and eligibility for the 8(a) Business Development Program/SDB Status Determinations. Substantive changes include the rule on affiliation among joint ventures, calculation of net worth, and new requirements for 8(a) joint venture agreements.

Prior to this new final rule, entities were not affiliated as joint venturers provided they only joint ventured to submit no more than 3 offers on Federal projects over a 2-year period. Under the new rule, joint ventures can be awarded 3 projects over a 2-year period and not be considered affiliates based on their joint venture activities. Joint venturers can now re-constitute their joint venture and be awarded 3 additional projects over subsequent 2-year periods.

Other changes affect the determination of who is economically disadvantaged. In determining one’s net worth, "[f]unds invested in an Individual Retirement Account or other official retirement account that are unavailable to an individual until retirement age without a significant penalty will not be considered in determining an individual’s net worth." Personal income averages for initial and continuing 8(a) program eligibility have also been established by the SBA.

The required contents of 8(a) joint venture agreements will also change effective March 14, 2011. To the extent other SBA contracting-assistance programs rely on the regulation for proper 8(a) joint venture agreements, those other programs will be affected by these changes, as well.

This final rule is extensive and includes other substantive and technical changes. Click here to view the Final Rule.