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Rice-Cunningham Bill To Ensure Reporting Of Minority- And Women-Owned Business Contracts In School Construction Approved

Senators Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, and Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, speak about legislation on the floor of the Senate

Measure Would Ensure Transparency, Compliance with Contract Set-asides for Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by the Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, Senator Ronald L. Rice, and caucus member Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham which would require the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) to report on the number of contracts awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses was approved by the Assembly today by a vote of 73-5, receiving final legislative approval.

“Particularly when our State and national economies are struggling, contract set-asides are vital to ensuring that economic recovery isn’t restricted to companies owned by white men,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “As we seek to build state-of-the-art educational facilities in our communities in need, we have to make sure that all contractors are given fair consideration. Too often, women and minority contractors are written off, but this bill will make sure that New Jersey is living up to its responsibility to create recovery diversity among all contractors in the Garden State.”

The bill, S-95, would direct the SDA to examine and compile biannual reports detailing the number of school construction contracts that have been awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses. The reports would have to include information on the total value of the contracts, and the percentage of those contracts as they relate to the total number that have been awarded by the SDA over the six months prior to the issuance of the report. Under the bill, the information compiled in the reports would be required to be submitted to the Governor, the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, the Senate President and the Speaker of the General Assembly.

“Women- and minority-owned contractors bring a different perspective to their work, and deserve fair treatment under our State’s contracting guidelines,” said Senator Cunningham, D-Hudson. “New Jersey’s set-aside rules exist particularly to combat the entrenched prejudices which often deny opportunities to hard-working and capable contractors. This bill ensures that we honor New Jersey’s contracting rules when going out to bid for work on much-needed repairs and renovations to our public schools.”

The bill, which was unanimously approved by the Senate in February, now heads to the Governor to be signed into law.

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