Committee approves legislating state certification for LGBTQ-owned businesses

Committee approves legislating state certification for LGBTQ-owned businesses

Assemblyman Don Guardian

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Don Guardian’s bill authorizing the state to certify businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals passed an Assembly committee on Thursday. Certification makes certain businesses eligible for set-aside and goal-based contracting initiatives offered by state agencies and preference when bidding for state contracts.

The bill (A3330) cements an LGBTQ business certification program created by Gov. Phil Murphy in May 2022 into law. The Department of Treasury certifies businesses in the same way it does for minority and women-owned businesses in New Jersey.

“Lifting up New Jersey’s LGBTQ entrepreneurs shines a light on our state’s great diversity and the opportunities afforded to people who have been historically underrepresented. I am proud to sponsor a bill that breaks down barriers, because I know that being a part of this community has not always been celebrated,” Guardian (R-Atlantic) said. “This program encourages business owners to set up shop in New Jersey, bid on state contracts that generate economic activity and support jobs, and proudly declare their state certification.”’

To qualify for certification, businesses must be solely owned by an LGBTQ+ person, or at least 51% of owners in partnerships, joint ventures and corporations must identify as LGBTQ+. Certified businesses are posted in a public vendor database, which is available to all contracting authorities.