House Passes Bill to Increase Potential Size of Sole Source Awards

Amidst the news cycle focusing on the government shutdown, there is some other action in the House of Representatives that recently caught our eye.

The House recently passed a bill called the “Expanding Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019.” If the bill becomes law, we will see a dramatic expansion in the size of sole source contracts for SDVOSBs, WOSBs, and HUBZones.

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SBA Proposes Big Changes to the HUBZone Program (Continued)

Big changes could be coming to the HUBZone program. On October 31, the SBA published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would bring clarity to the HUBZone regulations. Yesterday, we posted about proposed changes to the HUBZone certification, compliance, and protest processes.

In this post, we wanted to bring you up to speed on some of the more substantive revisions to the way HUBZone employees are defined and counted under the proposed rule.

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HUBZone Program: SBA’s Proposed Rule Clears Up Some Common Misconceptions

Last week, the SBA released a proposal to overhaul the HUBZone Program.  The proposed rule will make major changes to almost all aspects of the HUBZone Program, and my colleague Ian Patterson is covering those changes in a series of two posts on SmallGovCon.

But while the proposed HUBZone Program rule changes will garner most of the headlines, the SBA also has used the proposed rule as an opportunity to clear up a few very common HUBZone Program misconceptions–such as the notion that so-called “jobsite employees” don’t count toward the 35% HUBZone residency requirement.

Here are three of the most important clarifications SBA offered in the proposed HUBZone rule.

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SBA Proposes Big Changes to the HUBZone Program

The SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone program intends well—by directing awards to contractors in regions that have been passed by economically, the federal government has tried to lift these areas up. But the HUBZone program has exacting regulations, which (ironically) have helped cause it to be an underutilized tool for contracting officers. This could soon change.

On October 31, the SBA published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would bring clarity to the HUBZone regulations. In this post, we wanted to bring you up to speed on some of the more substantive proposed changes regarding certification requirements and the HUBZone protest process. Changes to employee definitions and requirements will be handled in another post.

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OHA Lacks Jurisdiction to Hear HUBZone Status Appeals

While the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals hears appeals for many of the SBA’s programs, there are certain decisions that remain outside of its purview.

As one protester was surprised to learn, among those items outside of OHA’s jurisdiction are appeals of the HUBZone status determinations.

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HUBZone Program: SBA Will Delete “Direct” Ownership Requirement

HUBZone companies owned by U.S. citizens will no longer be required to demonstrate that the ownership is “direct.”

The SBA’s HUBZone program rules have long required that a HUBZone company owned by U.S. citizens be at least 51% directly owned by those citizens–as opposed to allowing the qualifying citizens to own those interests through legal vehicles like holding companies.  But the SBA has had second thoughts, and effective May 25, 2018, the direct ownership requirement will be eliminated.

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