Senate passes Cano bill which protects minority-owned businesses seeking state project contracts
STATE HOUSE – The Senate tonight passed legislation (2021-S 0549A) sponsored by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) which prohibits the waiving of rules and regulations relating to minority-owned businesses involved with state contracts during periods such as a declared state of emergency.
“It is indisputable that the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying effects of the resulting state of emergency have hit Rhode Island’s community of color the hardest. This bill will protect our minority-owned businesses participating in the minority business enterprise program by keeping these rules and regulations guaranteeing participation in state contracts always in place, regardless of events like a state of emergency. The community of color needs help and support to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring that their business owners remain involved with lucrative state projects is one aspect of this vital recovery,” said Senator Cano.
Current law states that minority business enterprises shall be included in all procurement and construction projects and shall be awarded a minimum of 10 percent of the dollar value of the entire procurement or project. The director of the Department of Administration is further authorized to establish by rules and regulation the certification process and formulas for giving minority business enterprises a preference in contract and subcontract awards.
The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.