Senator THOMAS H. KEAN, JR.
District 21 (Morris, Somerset and Union)
Establishes recruitment and referral program for certain individuals and extends certain provisions of law concerning affirmative action in public works contracts to workers with disabilities.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning disability status in public works contracting, amending P.L.1975, c.127, and supplementing Chapter 16 of Title 34 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1975, c.127 (C.10:5-31) is amended to read as follows:
1. As used in this act:
a. "Public works contract" means any contract to be performed for or on behalf of the State or any county or municipality or other political subdivision of the State, or any agency or authority created by any of the foregoing, for the construction, alteration or repair of any building or public work or for the acquisition of materials, equipment, supplies or services with respect to which discrimination in the hiring of persons for the performance of work thereunder or under any subcontract thereunder by reason of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, nationality, gender identity or expression, disability or sex is prohibited under R.S.10:2-1.
b. "Equal employment opportunity" means equality in opportunity for employment by any contractor, subcontractor or business firm engaged in the carrying out of a public works project including its development, design, acquisition, construction, management and operation.
c. “Affirmative action,” whether used separately or in conjunction with other words or phrases (including, but not limited to, “program” and “equal employment opportunity”) means good-faith steps taken to ensure equal employment opportunity for women and minority workers and workers with disabilities; but does not mean employment quotas, except where otherwise permitted and appropriate under applicable laws.
(cf: P.L.2006, c.100, s.12)
2. Section 4 of P.L.1975, c.127 (C.10:5-34) is amended to read as follows:
4. Each prospective bidder on a public works contract or contracts and each subcontract bidder to a prime contract bidder shall formulate and submit to the State Treasurer his or its affirmative action program of equal opportunity whereby he or it guarantees minorities and individuals with disabilities employment in all employment categories; the submission shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount to be fixed by the State Treasurer. For the purposes of this section, equal employment opportunity but not affirmative action is required with respect to persons identified solely by their affectional or sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The State Treasurer shall notify the bidder of approval or disapproval of his or its program within 60 days of its submission; failure of the State Treasurer to so act within 60 days shall constitute approval of the program. Any existing federally approved or sanctioned affirmative action program shall be approved by the State Treasurer.
No subcontract bidder who has less than five employees need comply with the provisions of this section.
(cf: P.L.2006, c.100, s.15)
3. Section 6 of P.L.1975, c.127 (C.10:5-36) is amended to read as follows:
6. In carrying out his responsibilities under this act, the State Treasurer, in addition to and without limitation of other powers which he may have by law, shall have the following powers:
a. To investigate and determine the percentage of population of minority groups and individuals with disabilities in the State or areas thereof from which the work force for public works contracts is or may be drawn;
b. To establish and promulgate such percentages as guidelines in determining the adequacy of affirmative action programs submitted for approval pursuant to section 2 of this act;
c. To require all State and local agencies awarding public works contracts to submit for approval their affirmative action programs;
d. To prescribe those affirmative action program provisions to be included in all public works contracts;
e. To provide guidelines to assist governmental agencies in the formulation of and the administration and enforcement of affirmative action programs , including guidelines regarding the establishment of goals, performance of workforce analyses, recordkeeping, and reporting of demographic data for applicants and employees related to disability status that is comparable to those implemented on behalf of women and racial and ethnic minorities;
f. To require State and local agencies awarding public works contracts to designate appropriate officers or employees to maintain liaison with and assist the State Treasurer in the implementation of this act and affirmative action programs, adopted pursuant thereto;
g. To prescribe appropriate administrative procedures relating to prequalification of bidders, bidding practices and contract awards to assure equal employment opportunities;
h. To provide staff and technical assistance to public bodies, contractors and subcontractors in furtherance of the objectives of this act;
i. To levy on contractors and subcontractors fees and charges found by him to be reasonable and necessary to accomplish the objectives of this act;
j. To refer to the Attorney General or his designee circumstances which may constitute violations of the "Law Against Discrimination";
k. To issue, amend and rescind rules and regulations in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act" (C. 52:14B-1 et seq.);
l. To enforce in a court of law the provisions of this act or to join in or assist any enforcement proceeding initiated by any aggrieved person;
m. To make and execute contracts and all other instruments with other public agencies and private firms or individuals necessary or convenient for the exercise of their powers and functions hereunder, including contracts with consultants for rendering professional or technical assistance and advice;
n. To contract for or accept any gifts or grants or loans of funds or property or financial or other aid in any form from the Federal government or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or from the State or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or from any other source and to comply, subject to the provisions of this act, with the terms and conditions thereof.
o. To issue rules and regulations that will expand business opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged contractors and vendors and disability-owned business enterprises seeking to provide materials and services for State contracts.
(cf: P.L.1979, c.266, s.1)
4. (New section) The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development shall establish a recruitment and referral program to connect college students, recent graduates, and other workers with disabilities with private sector employers offering summer or permanent jobs.
5. This act shall take effect immediately.
Current law requires affirmative action goals, workforce analysis, and data collection in public works contracts for racial and ethnic minorities. However, there are no comparable requirements applicable to individuals with disabilities.
This bill adds a definition of affirmative action to statutes concerning public works contracting. Affirmative action is defined as “good-faith steps taken to ensure equal opportunity employment for women and minority workers and workers with disabilities; but does not include employment quotas, except where otherwise permitted and appropriate under applicable laws.”
The bill also adds disability-owned business enterprises to the list of requirements for each prospective bidder on a public works contract to include in their affirmative action program submitted to the State Treasurer, and instructs the State Treasurer to include individuals with disabilities in demographic data and rules and regulations pertaining to public works contracting.
Finally, the bill directs the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to adopt a recruitment and referral program connecting private sector employers with college students, recent graduates, and others with disabilities for summer or permanent jobs.