Louisiana residents may be interested to learn that a proposed bill — House Bill 479 — would prove to be a huge boon for the southern state’s small businesses and budding entrepreneurs. The bill, which is currently in the House, is strongly backed by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber which was behind its inception. The bill would essentially allow members of Louisiana’s Small Entrepreneurship Program, also known as the Hudson Initiative to view and bid on all state business contracts.

The Division of Administration, which is responsible for advertising all state contracts, will have to advertise all said contracts with the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (LA PTAC). The LA PTAC was established in 1989 to help business firms get governments contracts at all levels. Though it is active in 54 parishes, the LA PTAC has no physical presence in the states capital, thus it will be partnering with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, which has agreed to provide it with much needed office space to conduct operations, hold meetings and the like. Since the LA PTAC’s inception, the center has diverted over $4.5 billion dollars in government contracts to businesses in 54 parishes in the state of Louisiana.

According to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, the Bill should help the state meet its goal of granting two percent of value of all state contracts to small as well as veteran owned businesses. In 2011 the state missed the mark by a whopping 38 percent, nearly $60 million in value.

One way the bill promotes greater transparency for state contracts is by notifying eligible small businesses by email whenever new contracts are available for bidding. As this shows, drafting a business contract can be complex. It is important that both parties to a contract understand its terms. In general, when it comes to a business contract and getting a bid it always important to seek the advice of professionals to ensure one’s interests are protected.

Source: NOLA, “Baton Rouge lawmaker seeks to expand access to state contracts for small businesses,” Emily Lane, March 11, 2014