Tuesday, Assemblymember Chris Holden’s legislation, AB 349, which would require the Department of General Services (DGS) and other state agencies and departments, to expand outreach to small businesses, particularly those owned by individuals that identify as LGBTQ, racial minorities, or women, passed the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.
“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 the hardest.”
A majority of departments under DGS’ purchasing authority are not meeting the 25% Small Business/ Microbusiness (Micro) participation goals and the state of emergency from the 2019 wildfires negatively affected this process. In addition, the Pandemic has disproportionately impacted underrepresented communities. AB 349 would expand the list of potential platforms to ensure all communities have access to the public notice of contracts.
“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.