The Senate today passed legislation aimed at improving the University of Washington’s diversity in awarding its contracts for capital projects.
Senate Bill 5631, sponsored by Sen. Randi Becker, would make the contracting process more inclusive of women-owned and minority-owned businesses in projects where critical patient care or highly specialized medical research are involved. It passed with a vote of 45-4.
“I’m so pleased to see such sweeping support for giving our diverse community better representation in the contracting process at our state’s largest university,” said Becker, R-Eatonville. “Minority-owned businesses should be sought out and included as prime contractors if they meet all other criteria.”
SB 5631 would require the UW to include at least one representative from the minority-owned and women-owned communities on the committee that evaluates the qualifications of prospective contractors who wish to be included on the university’s annual roster of prime contractors. It applies when the cost of the work is $5 million or less.
Under SB 5631, the committee would have to consider contractors’ history of working with businesses that have been certified by the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) before adding them to the annual roster. All those included on that roster would be required to solicit OMWBE-certified businesses in the future.
The UW’s business diversity program would be responsible for creating aspirational goals for contractors based on projected subcontracting opportunities.
SB 5631 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.