State Senate to Require Diversity and Inclusion on All Contracts

BOSTON- The Massachusetts State Senate last week voted for a rule change that requires diversity and inclusion plans to be included in requests for proposals (RFPs) for procurement contracts and taken into consideration when evaluating bids. 

This language would promote economic opportunity and inclusion in all chamber contracts over $100,000. The rule change comes as the State Senate has doubled down on efforts to rebuild a more fair and racially just economy. As recent reports have detailed, less than 0.5% of prime public contracts in the City of Boston went to black-owned businesses. While the state nearly doubled its goal of 8% of agency contract spending to minority-owned business enterprises in FY19, that marked a decrease from FY18. 

“Economic justice is racial justice, and this rule change makes it clear that my colleagues and I in the State Senate are committed to making meaningful changes to ensure opportunity to all residents of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Collins. “Too often, local firms and businesses that are owned by women and people of color have been largely shut out from sharing in the development in our city. As income inequality and the racial wealth gap are as egregiously prevalent as ever, this is a substantial step towards a more just economy and a brighter future for our city, state, and region.” 

The Legislature also recently voted to make the state’s Supplier Diversity Office (SDO) its own state agency, providing it with more resources to ensure accountability and compliance, oversee spending by other agencies, and audit and review statewide diversity metrics.

Last year, Senator Collins also spearheaded an effort to promote a similar diversity and inclusion requirement on public land dispositions like long term leases, construction projects, and public-private partnerships. This model was recently successfully demonstrated with Massport’s bidding process for the Omni Hotel Development, which resulted in a more competitive bidding process, and ultimately, a team with minority leadership in every step.