Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Bonnie Watson Coleman, L. Grace Spencer and Mila M. Jasey to monitor whether women and minority contractors are benefiting from school construction in New Jersey has been released by an Assembly committee.
The bill (A-2455) directs the New Jersey Schools Development Authority to biannually compile information on the number of school facilities project construction contracts entered into between the authority and minority and women contractors during the prior six-month period.
The information must include the total value of the contracts and the percentage that those contracts represent of all school facilities project construction contracts entered into by the development authority.
“School construction projects are among the most important work being done in communities throughout our state, and it’s important to ensure that every aspect of those communities is benefiting from this work,” said Quijano (D-Union). “This bill would ensure we get a look at whether that’s occurring.”
“Schools are community buildings, and building them should be a community effort that includes everyone,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “We need to know if that’s happening.”
“This economy is difficult for nearly everyone, but especially for small businesses owned by women and minority contractors too often left out of major community projects such as school construction,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “We need to do more to ensure they’re being included.”
“Major construction projects can create jobs and help reinvigorate our economy, but only if everyone is involved,” said Jasey (D-Essex). “We don’t know for sure whether that’s happening, but with this bill we will finally know whether these projects are benefiting everyone.”
The bill was released by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.