Bill to create new Division to encourage minority- and women-owned businesses clears committee

A bill that would create a division in the Treasury Department to develop minority- and women-owned businesses was advanced in

A bill that would create a division in the Treasury Department to develop minority- and women-owned businesses was advanced in the Assembly Commerce Committee Thursday.

The bill, A3741, sponsored by Annette Quijano, (D-20), Union, would establish a Division of Minority and Women Business Development to be headed by a State Chief Disparity Officer.

The division’s purpose would be to monitor efforts to ensure equal opportunity for such businesses, including keeping an eye on the public procurement process.

In addition, the bill provides that “contracts awarded through the State’s small business set-aside program that are valued at less than $200,000 will not be publicly advertised for bids but will, instead, be negotiated with small businesses using a competitive contracting process.”

That $200,000 provision drew some opposition. Michael Travostino of the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey said any such clause that would alter the advertising and bidding process is something the association has historically opposed.

Troy Singleton, vice president of the Carpenters-Contractors Trust, also said he feared the bill as written would have unintended consequences.

Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco Jr. raised concerns about the bureaucracy, added cost and transparency issues of the bill, and voted no for the moment but said he could reconsider his position later if he becomes convinced the cost is worth it.  

 

Bill to create new Division to encourage minority- and women-owned businesses clears committee