Sens. Cano, Quezada Call for Compliance With Minority-Owned Contract Laws in Surge Hospital Decommissioning

 

STATE HOUSE – Sen. Sandra Cano and Sen. Ana B. Quezada are calling upon Gov. Gina M. Raimondo to ensure that the state complies with minority contracting laws as it decommissions two field hospitals set up to handle coronavirus patients.

“The coronavirus pandemic has hurt all sectors of our economy, particularly small businesses. Meanwhile, the illness itself has disproportionately affected minority communities. It is always important to follow the laws that require the state to include minority contractors, but at this time it is even more critical, economically and morally,” said Senator Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket). “Hiring minority-owned businesses – which also tend to hire more minority employees—will save some of the most at-risk small businesses and jobs, helping our communities weather this storm. It’s a smart way to makes sure our state resources do the most good.”

The State Properties Committee is set to meet tomorrow morning to take steps toward decommissioning the surge hospitals that were set up in the spring at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence and at a former Lowe’s in North Kingstown to handle patients if local hospitals became overwhelmed. That scenario, fortunately, did not play out. The state plans to leave the third surge hospital in Cranston set up for now, in case its use becomes necessary.

The two senators pointed out that Rhode Island spent $34 million to construct and equip the three field hospitals, and not a single dollar went to a minority-owned Rhode Island company. By law, 10 percent of all state construction and service contracts must be awarded to minority-owned companies that have completed a rigorous state certification process, but as an emergency measure, those contracts were exempt from the requirement.

Senator Quezada and Senator Cano said the state must do better to comply with the letter and the spirit of the law as the hospitals are decommissioned.

“There are hundreds of minority-owned business enterprises on the state’s master list of vendors, and they deserve to be considered for these valuable contracts. We have the 10-percent law for a reason. Rhode Island is a place where inclusivity is valued. Our state dollars must be spent in a way that reflects those values and lifts up communities that have, historically, often been left out,” said Senator Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence).

 

There's an agreement on a bipartisan infrastructure deal. Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said they have worked out what he called the "major issues." Portman added the bill is paid for.       House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is being pressed about calling Republican leader Kevin McCarthy a "moron." During a news conference, Pelosi did not revisit the "moron" remark, but said McCarthy's comments about the renewed House mask mandate were "not wise." This came after Capitol physician Brian Monahan put the mandate in place Tuesday to fight back against the Delta variant.       Drugmaker Pfizer is recommending a third dose of its coronavirus vaccine. They say it can "strongly" boost protection against the Delta coronavirus variant. New data from the company suggests a third dose can give five-times the protection against the variant than just two shots.       State attorneys general want to revive their antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. A judge had dismissed the suit saying the actions took place more than five years ago, but now they're working to appeal its dismissal. New York's attorney general said Facebook must be held accountable while accusing the social media giant of "stifling competition, reducing innovation, and cutting privacy protections."       McDonald's sales are spiking thanks to the BTS meal and its new chicken sandwich. Named after the popular K-pop band, global sales at the fast food chain surged past Wall Street targets as consumers in nearly 50 countries gobbled up the BTS chicken nugget meal. McDonald's same-store sales jumped over 40-percent in the second quarter.       Despite recent rumors, Paris Hilton says she's not pregnant. On Tuesday's episode of her podcast This is Paris, she said she's not expecting a child with fiance Carter Reum. However, she did say she can't wait to have children in 2022 after she gets married.