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Erie County Legislator Baskin touts law to help minority and women-owned businesses

Erie County Legislative Chairwoman April Baskin touts new legislative initiatives outside the legislative chambers
Thomas O'Neil-White
Erie County Legislative Chairwoman April Baskin touts new legislative initiatives outside the legislative chambers

The Erie County Minority and Women Business Enterprise Equality and Modernization Act is one law in a five-part package of proposed new legislation by Erie County Legislative Chairwoman April Baskin.

The law, which is being directed to committee, consolidates five previous laws centered on addressing disparities faced by minority and women-owned businesses. Baskin said the law introduces a workforce component which incentivizes diversity and inclusion for work on county projects.

“Erie County has done well,” she said “But I believe we can do better. Erie County is one of the only counties currently in the state that has not increased their goals yet. And our original goals were set back in 1987. And so what this bill does is it's going to increase goals, update what we need to do to create opportunities for women and minorities.”

And for Baskin, it is past time to increase those goals.

“The first thing is that it increases the goals for minorities what it's been since 1987 is 10%,” she said. “This local law will require contractors to now have to contract with minorities up to 20% for contracts that are over $100,000 and with women, which is currently 2% the inclusion of women owned businesses will now be 10%.”

Another facet of the law is the liquidated damages section which puts forth consequences for those contractors who do not make good faith efforts in diversifying their workforce.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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