From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Jennifer Wichmann
(214) 467-0123
August 20, 2002

Senator West to hold conference to study state's HUB procurement practices

AUSTIN -- State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) and State Representative Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) will host a two-day conference that will examine the progress of state agencies' utilization of Texas' Historically Underutilized Business Program (HUBs). The conference will take place Thursday, August 22, 2002 and Friday, August 23, 2002. Thursday's event will be held in the Capitol Extension Auditorium (E1.004) from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Friday's session will convene in the Senate Finance Committee Room (E1.038).

"This is the first time since the implementation of Senate Bill 178 that we've had a conference to look at what the impact of that legislation has been," said Senator West. "The conference serves several purposes, first, to get an analysis of HUB activity in the State of Texas. Secondly, we'll have an opportunity to look at best practices and talk about issues that impact the successful implementation of HUB programs."

The goal of the state's HUB program is to ensure that minority and women-owned businesses have increased opportunities to participate in the billions of dollars awarded each year in state contracts. In 1991, state agencies reported that only 1.47% of its expenditures were committed to HUB businesses. After reaching a peak of more than 16% in 1996, dollars spent with HUB businesses have declined steadily. In the first half of FY02, the Texas Building and Procurement Commission reported statewide HUB spending at 11.5% of state contracts.

"If this year continues at this pace, it will be the lowest level that the State of Texas has seen since 1993," said Senator West. "I was extremely disappointed to see that HUB contracting has experienced yet another decline."

During the 1999, 76th Legislative Session, Senator West and Representative Dukes coauthored language in Senate Bill 178, that encourages state agencies to provide procurement and subcontracting opportunities to HUB vendors.

After noting the decline in contracting levels, Senator West and Representative Dukes have enlisted the assistance of fellow legislators and various stakeholders in studying the implementation of SB 178. The Senate Hispanic Caucus, chaired by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Black Legislative Caucus led by Rep. Joe Deshotel and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus headed by Rep. Pete Gallego have joined the effort, along with the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce and the Mexican American Chambers of Commerce.

"The collaborative effort of the business and legislative community is based upon a mutual premise that our state can and should make a good faith effort to award more contracts to historically underutilized businesses in Texas," stated Representative Dukes.

During the Thursday session, a model HUB program will be presented to state agency heads and HUB Coordinators. On Friday, Senator West, Representative Dukes and Caucus members will hold a hearing where state agencies will discuss their HUB performances and programs.

For more information please contact Jennifer Wichmann or Ricardo Lopez-Guerra at 214-467-0123 or at 512-463-0123.

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