To determine whether minority and women-owned businesses are chosen at a disproportionately lower rate than other businesses for government contracts, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Sterley Stanley and Shavonda Sumter would mandate a disparity study of the State’s procurement process. The measure was advanced by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee on Thursday.
Under the bill (A-4664), New Jersey’s Chief Diversity Officer would be required to conduct a study regarding how often minority and women-owned businesses are employed in the procurement of goods and services for State agencies. The purpose of the study would be to determine whether there are any disparities between the availability of these businesses and how often they are chosen for State contracts.
The Chief Diversity Officer would then report their findings to the Governor and Legislature and offer recommendations on ways to promote opportunities for these businesses to win State contracts. The officer would be permitted to submit additional subsequent reports, if necessary, that would identify the extent to which previous recommendations have been implemented and have made an impact on the process.
Upon the measure advancing, Assembly sponsors Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon), Stanley (D-Middlesex) and Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic) issued the following joint statement:
“Minority and women-owned businesses often encounter systemic barriers in our procurement process that put them at a disadvantage and limit their ability to win State contracts. We must ensure a level-playing field by identifying any disparities in our process and offering potential solutions to the unique challenges these businesses face. This study will help us better understand the issue so that we may enact changes to alleviate historic discrimination and open up more opportunities for minority and women-owned enterprises going forward.”
The legislation now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.