POU, WATSON COLEMAN, EVANS SADDENED BY CHRISTIE DELAY OF MEASURE TO LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR WOMEN AND MINORITIES

CV of Bill to Help Spur Jobs Comes on Eve of Women’s Equality Day

Assemblywomen Bonnie Watson Coleman and Elease Evans today expressed sadness and frustration over Governor Christie’s conditional veto delaying the implementation of a measure they have sponsored that would ensure that women and minorities benefit from publicly funded construction contracts.

The law (S-2137/A-3018) would clarify a measure signed in January that requires state and local bodies entering into publicly funded construction contracts worth more than $1 million to transfer 0.5 percent of the amount funded by public money to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The department would then use the money for outreach and training programs for women and minorities.

It’s extremely unfortunate in this difficult economy, that the Governor would choose to delay a bill that will help train underserved populations to compete more effectively for jobs,” said Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “This law not only does that, but helps ensure future generations will get the training they need to continue taking part in such work.”

“Sadly, on the eve of Women’s Equality Day, the Governor has again shown that programs benefiting women are not a priority for his administration,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “In such a treacherous economy, now is the time to take the steps needed to make sure everyone benefits from the new jobs these programs will create.”

“The Governor’s delay of this law means we may miss our window of opportunity to benefit from the many projects being funded by federal stimulus money right now,” said Evans (D-Passaic). “We cannot let this opportunity pass without ensuring everyone enjoys the same access to jobs.”

Specifically, the bill:

·Expands the funded activities to include outreach as well as training, and to include not only construction trade occupations, but other occupations in the construction industry, such as management and engineering.
· Modifies the scope of projects subject to the 0.5 percent set-aside to make it clear that it apply to local, as well as state, projects.

The bill passed the Assembly 52-22-4 and the Senate 26-14 earlier this year.