New Jersey Assembly Committee Approves NGLCC Championed Bill to Include Certified LGBT, Disability, and Veteran Owned Businesses in State Contracting

| By Andy DiAntonio
On Monday, February 13th, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce provided expert testimony at the New Jersey State House in Trenton in support of A-3891, a bill to welcome certified LGBT, disability, and veteran owned businesses in New Jersey state contracting and procurement opportunities. The bill was approved by the Human Services Committee by a nearly unanimous vote and was applauded for providing a pro-business context for expanding equal opportunity throughout the state.
 
“This historic legislative opportunity in New Jersey offers other states—and the entire federal government—a replicable framework to promote the intentional inclusion of certified LGBT Business Enterprises into their procurement and contracting codes. We thank Assemblyman Tim Eustace and his colleagues for their leadership on behalf of all diverse communities in New Jersey,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson.  “As we saw with the over 200% increase in LGBTBE certifications following California’s AB1678 mandate, we expect a major increase in job-creating, economy-innovating LGBT businesses throughout the State of New Jersey. Our hope is the full Assembly takes this up for a vote in the coming weeks.”

A-3891 establishes a number of vital economic opportunities and services for LGBT, disability, and veteran-owned businesses, including:

  • Approving third-party agencies, including NGLCC and USBLN, to perform certification and verification of eligible businesses;
  • Establishing a loan referral and packing program for eligible businesses; and
  • Compiling lists of qualified professionals in specific areas of expertise to be disseminated to eligible businesses and to be used in making referrals.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"12471","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"480","style":"width: 275px; height: 275px; float: right;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan Lovitz represented the organization and spoke to their history of effectively implementing this kind of intentional business inclusion across the pubic and private sectors.  Lawmakers and business leaders in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and across many federal agencies have partnered with NGLCC to develop this kind of policy, which is both revenue neutral and free of additional red tape that is cumbersome to small business development.  These programs aim to mirror the best practices of the private sector where over 1/3 of the Fortune 500 currently seek and include NGLCC Certified LGBT Business Enterprises in their supply chains.

“The New Jersey state motto is “Liberty and Prosperity”— exactly the aims of this kind of business inclusion. Discrimination and lack of inclusion are not only morally wrong; they are antithetical to the pro-business climate for which New Jersey is renowned. At this very moment, LGBT owned, disability owned, and veteran owned businesses are providing top quality goods and services—from personnel to paving stones—at extremely competitive prices to many of the prime contractors New Jersey uses everyday. They deserve the fair and equal chance to win those contracts outright. With an equal seat at the table, diverse business owners will continue to create jobs and grow the Garden State economy,” Lovitz stated in his testimony.

Laurie Seliger, Co-President of the New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the local NGLCC affiliate chamber, joined him in providing testimony. Seliger is a certified LGBTBE business owner for her language translation service, Keylingo.

"LGBT individuals, people with disabilities, and veterans often face discrimination and bias, and transgender individuals, in particular, are disproportionately underemployed due to discrimination," said Assemblyman Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), co-sponsor of the bill. "This legislation would help them overcome certain discriminations by providing access to business assistance programs that are currently provided to other minority communities in the state."
 
LGBT business owners interested in the certification process can find information and an application at www.nglcc.org/get-certified.