TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Ronald L. Rice and Sandra Bolden Cunningham to require the New Jersey Schools Development Authority to compile information on building contracts awarded to minority and women contractors was approved by the Senate Education Committee today.
“With billions of taxpayer dollars going to school construction programs throughout New Jersey, it is important that women and minority-owned businesses get a fair share of the contracts awarded in this State,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Each year we work hard to help businesses run by minorities and women to bid and win contracts on various State projects. Unfortunately, we need more oversight to ensure that an equitable amount of projects are given to these groups. By requiring the SDA to provide this information we will gain a better understanding of how they award contracts and if more needs to be done to help minorities and women bid on projects.”
The bill, S-1601, would direct the SDA to biannually report information on the number of school facilities project construction contracts given to minority and women contractors during the prior six-month period.
Senator Cunningham, D-Hudson, stated that the data 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.
“Under current law the SDA must submit a report on the school facilities construction program no later than June 1 and December 1 of each year,” said Senator Cunningham. “Although the SDA already includes information in its biannual reports on minority and women contracts, this formal requirement would further encourage the Authority to show more diversity when choosing contractors.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.