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Contact: Robbie Kenney / (609) 847-3600
October 29, 2020
Pennacchio & Kean Bill to Review Effectiveness of Programs Supporting Businesses Owned by Minorities and Women Clears Senate

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The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Republican Leader Tom Kean that would track the performance of State programs to strengthen women- and minority-owned businesses.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Pennacchio and Senate Republican Leader Kean to help minority- and women-owned businesses cleared the Senate today. (©iStock)

“Vibrant and growing women- and minority-owned enterprises are crucial to a strong New Jersey economy,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “This bill will allow us to evaluate the data so we can identify trends and better understand which programs are effective, and which are falling short. We cannot make decisions about public policy that impacts the economy if we don’t have accurate, up-to-date numbers.”

The Pennacchio/Kean bill, S-300, requires the Division of Purchase and Property in the Treasury Department to issue an annual report on public contracts awarded to businesses owned by women and minorities. The report, compiled by the Chief Diversity Officer, would be presented to the Governor and the Legislature.

“The goal is assisting women and minority entrepreneurs compete and thrive in New Jersey. The Legislature’s ongoing effort to support a strong and growing economy includes advancing measures to create business opportunity for minorities,” said Kean (R-21). “With the information, we can evaluate the performance of these initiatives, and plan our path for a more robust economy.”

Under the bill, the Division is required to operate and continue to develop the Selective Assistance Vendor Information (SAVI) database.

SAVI identifies businesses registered as minority and women owned businesses with the State that are eligible for mandated programs such as the NJ Small Business Set-Aside program, and aids in matching buyers and vendors for private contracting opportunities.

The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) is a strong supporter of the bill.

“This legislation, advocating transparency in public contracting, represents a step in the right direction towards a more equitable inclusion of black businesses in public contracting opportunities,” said John E. Harmon, organization president. “I am confident that the members of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and the 80,000 black owned businesses across the state will applaud Senator Pennacchio, Senator Kean and Governor Murphy once the bill is signed into law.”

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