Trenton – In an effort to address continued discrimination against minority-owned businesses, legislation sponsored by Senators Ronald Rice and Troy Singleton would require entities at every level of government to conduct studies of racial and ethnic disparities in public contracting. The bill advanced from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.
“Government contracts offer a great opportunity for steady, reliable business. Unfortunately, because entities tend to renew their contracts over and over again, it can be hard for less established businesses to win contracts. This makes it is especially hard for minority-owned businesses to break into this lucrative space,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “We have a responsibility to ensure all businesses in the state have an equal opportunity to bid for government contracts and that contracts are not disproportionally awarded to white own businesses. By collecting this data we can hold public institutions accountable to diversify who they are doing business with.”
“I have been a strong proponent for state and local governments to foster, encourage and utilize minority-owned businesses in New Jersey,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “This legislation would require the public sector to take a strong look at how often they have hired minority-owned businesses in the past, and improve transparency and opportunities for the future.”
The bill, S-318, would require state and local governments, boards of education and public institutions of higher education to conduct a study of racial and ethnic disparity in their awarding of public contracts over the past five years. They would also be required to conduct further studies every five years thereafter.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.