Changes in store for Native contracting program
The Small Business Administration is proposing a number of changes to the 8(a) federal contracting program.

The changes will impose some limits on tribal and Alaska Native businesses. For example, tribal and Native businesses would be forced to "graduate" from the program and can't rejoin by simply creating another business.

Tribal and Native businesses also won't be able to subcontract work to non-tribal and non-Native partners. Some federal agencies already limit such practices.

Some changes apply specifically to Alaska Native businesses. They will be required to submit information every year to show how contracts are benefiting Native communities.

"The firm should submit information relating to funding cultural programs, employment assistance, jobs, scholarships, internships, subsistence activities, and other services to the affected community," the notice in the Federal Register stated.

Alaska Native corporations have come under scrutiny for winning large sole-source contracts. The proposed changes won't affect the dollar amount of any contracts or force Native businesses to compete for certain contracts.

Comments are due by December 28.

Get the Story:
Native firms face changes to contracting (The Anchorage Daily News 10/29)
SBA proposes major revisions to small business contracting program (Government Executive 10/28)

Federal Register Notice:
Small Business Size Regulations; 8(a) Business Development/Small Disadvantaged Business Status Determinations; Proposed Rule (October 28, 2009)

Related Stories:
Lawmakers back Native corporation contracting (10/28)
SBA plans changes to Native contracting program (10/23)
McCaskill promises Native contracting 'reform' (09/29)
SBA asked for status report on Native contracts (08/03)
Editorial: No 'loophole' in Native contracting (7/31)
Murkowski seeks hearing on Native contracting (7/30)
Amendment to limit Native contracts dropped (7/24)
Opinion: Contracts help Alaska Native people (7/23)
NPR: Alaska Native contracts under scrutiny (7/20)
Senate hearing looks at Alaska Native contracts (7/17)
Senate hearing on Native corporation contracts (7/16)
Jobs stay local under Alaska Native ownership (7/16)
Tex Hall: Hunting Indians at Capitol Hill hearing (7/15)
Report cites unfair advantage for Native firms (7/15)
Alaska Native corporations prepare for hearing (7/14)
Interview: Ho-Chunk CEO on Native contracting (07/01)
Senate panel probes Alaska Native corporations (6/24)
Alaska Native corporation worried about probe (5/20)
Alaska Native corporations under more scrutiny (5/19)