Currently, there are no laws to stop discrimination against companies owned by women, minorities or LGBTQ members of the community related to government contracts. A loophole exists. City and state officials announced on Friday that new legislation will be introduced to change all that.
“Our city’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and it’s government’s job to ensure every New Yorker is safe from discrimination in all forms,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said. “Current law prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations, but fails to address contracting with the city or state. Our laws must reflect our values, and it’s time to enact new legislation that ensures everyone has an equal opportunity to bid on government contracts.”
Stringer, along with state Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Council Members Ritchie Torres and Robert Cornegy, and the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, plans to introduce legislation to expand anti-discrimination protections to every business owner in New York by amending both the state and city Human Rights Laws.
This means that government contracts will be specifically included in the wording.
“These laws leave open a door to discrimination that should have been closed years ago, and we must bring them into the 21st century,” Stringer said. “With city spending on M/WBEs stuck in low gear, we must send the message that New York is open for business with everyone. I thank this coalition for uniting around the cause of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance.”
According to the comptroller's office, New York City spends $14 billion annually on everything from paperclips to firetrucks, but only 5.3 percent of the spending goes to Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).
“New York State currently has more than 50,000 contracts worth nearly $240 billion a year," Hoylman said. "We have an obligation to leverage these tremendous resources to ensure a seat at the table for communities that remain underrepresented in state contracting and the business world."