Legislation to create certification program for LGBTQ+ businesses advances in NJ

Kimberly Redmond//January 27, 2023

Legislation to create certification program for LGBTQ+ businesses advances in NJ

Kimberly Redmond//January 27, 2023

As part of an effort to add greater inclusivity in New Jersey’s business ranks, lawmakers advanced a measure that would establish a state-backed certification program for companies owned by LGBTQ+ individuals.

Under Senate Bill 3460, released Jan. 26 by the Senate Commerce Committee, the New Jersey Department of Treasury would be authorized to certify LGBTQ+-owned businesses through the state’s Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.

The legislation, which was sponsored by state Sen. Nellie Pou, D-35th District, and Sen. Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, D-29th District, would codify a program established by Gov. Phil Murphy’s May 2022 executive order enabling state certification as a way to enhance the visibility of such ventures.


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While New Jersey already has certification programs in place for small businesses as well as those owned by minorities, women, veterans and disabled veterans, there is no mechanism in place for LGBTQ+ companies. For businesses, having state-backed documentation of their status can be beneficial in pursuing contracting opportunities at the local, state and federal level, in addition to in the private sector

According to the legislation, businesses eligible to earn the certification must be a sole proprietorship, partnership, joint venture, corporation or other business entity authorized pursuant to federal law and must be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by persons who identify as LGBTQ+.

In a statement, Pou, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, said, “Businesses owned in whole or in part by LGBTQ+ individuals touch all aspects of the economy and add to the commercial diversity that is part of our shared social identity. This legislation affirms the vital role those businesses play and will continue to play in the civic and economic future of our state.”

Ruiz added, “Like other underrepresented communities, LGBTQ+ residents contribute mightily to the economic, civic and social life of New Jersey. Enabling this certification will assure that LGBTQ+ – owned businesses, just like minority- and women -owned businesses, will be given every chance to succeed.”

After being reported out of the Senate Commerce Committee, S3460 was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further review.