RS 51:942     

§942.  Small and emerging businesses

A.  The department shall provide for the increased opportunity for small and emerging businesses to become competitive in a modern economy without regard to race or gender.  This purpose shall be accomplished by providing a program of assistance and promotion.  The following provisions of this Section shall be applied and interpreted to promote this purpose.

B.  There is hereby established within the department the small and emerging business development program.  In an effort to assist small and emerging businesses, the department shall do the following:

(1)  Identify, develop, and promote equal opportunity for all qualified small and emerging businesses.

(2)  Develop a system to assist licensed insurance agents and approved licensed surety companies in providing surety bonds to certified businesses and develop a system to provide financial, technical, and managerial assistance to certified businesses.  The department shall not act as a licensed agent or as a surety company or issue surety bonds.

(3)  Serve as an informational clearinghouse and provide technical assistance to individuals and entities engaged in small business development.

(4)  As provided by rule, establish any other programs that may be necessary to carry out the purpose and intent of this Section.

C.  The small and emerging business program shall not assist concerns owned and controlled by individuals who have accumulated substantial wealth or who have not experienced or who have overcome impediments to obtaining access to financing, markets, and resources.

D.  The department shall by rule establish application, submission, and review criteria and procedures for certification of qualified small and emerging businesses.

E.  The department may require all certified small and emerging businesses to report such information the department deems necessary to enable and facilitate its evaluation of the progress of the small and emerging business and the benefits of the program.

F.  The department shall adopt such rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act for the implementation of the small and emerging business program.  The rules adopted with regard to the small and emerging business program pursuant to the Louisiana Small and Emerging Business Act shall be reauthorized until such time as new rules are adopted to implement the provisions of this Part.

G.(1)  Complaints regarding certification of small and emerging businesses may be submitted in writing to the department and shall be processed according to the policies and procedures adopted by the department.

(2)  Decisions to deny certification, deny renewal of certification, or revoke certification are subject to the review of an administrative law judge from the division of administrative law upon the aggrieved party requesting an adjudicatory hearing for the review of the department's decision pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 13-B of Title 49 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.

H.  No applicant, employee of the department, or any other public servant shall commit the crime of deceptive certification of a small and emerging business as provided for in R.S. 51:944.

I.(1)  Funds received by the department and made available for small business surety bonding shall be deposited immediately upon receipt into the state treasury.

(2)  Repealed by Acts 2014, No. 646, §11, eff. July, 1, 2014.

(3)  The monies in the Small Business Surety Bonding Fund shall be used by the department solely to fund the department's efforts to provide financial assistance to small businesses to mitigate gaps in the state surety bonding market.

(4)  The approval of the undersecretary of the office of management and finance and the assistant secretary of the office of business development within the department shall be required prior to the issuance of or entrance into any obligation, whether contractual or financial, by the bonding assistance program.

J.  Staff necessary to effectuate this Part properly, insofar as funds are available, shall be employed by and be under the direction and control of the secretary of the department.

Acts 2001, No. 9, §9, eff. July 1, 2001; Acts 2014, No. 646, §11, eff. July 1, 2014.