Assemblymember Chris Holden introduced AB 349 which requires that half of one percent of SB 1 dollars be used to conduct outreach efforts to small business and disadvantaged business enterprises. The bill aims to bolster efforts to include minority owned and women owned business in a post COVID-19 economic recovery to meet contract procurement goals established by the California Department of Transportation.
“This bill is about ensuring equity and a just COVID-19 recovery,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “We know communities of color continue to be disproportionally impacted by COVID-19 with higher rates of unemployment, reduced access to healthcare, and ultimately higher death rates. This bill will bring economic opportunities to these communities who are also hit hardest by taxes on gas and transportation.”
As of October 2018, the California Department of Transportation had a goal of awarding 17.6% of contract dollars to disadvantaged business enterprises. In 2018, only 12.1% of dollars went to disadvantaged business enterprises. AB 349 will provide the department the resources necessary to meet their goal.
A disadvantaged business enterprise is a small business that is at least 51% owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged including people that identify as Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, Native Americans, or women.
“Equitable distribution of public contracts to help businesses that have been historically marginalized has always been the goal, but now, it is more important than ever to make it a reality,” said Holden.