NEC Calls On Congress to Pass Corporate Diversity Bill
Legislation Would Require Public Companies to Report Leadership Diversity
The New England Council has thrown its support behind legislation aimed at increasing diversity on corporate boards and in executive leadership at public companies through accountability and transparency measures. The Council has endorsed the “Improving Corporate Governance Through Transparency Act of 2021,” which would require public companies to disclose the gender, race, ethnicity and veteran status of their board directors, nominees, and senior executive officers to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) annually. The Council recently wrote to each member of the New England Congressional delegation to express its support of this proposal, and to encourage the region’s Senators and Representatives to support the bill.
In February 2021, the legislation was re-introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and in the House by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). The bill was previously introduced during the 116th Congress, and passed the House in September 2019, with all members of the New England House delegation voting in support of the bill.
In addition to the reporting requirements, the bill would also require the SEC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) to publish best practices for compliance with these disclosure rules, to solicit public comment on said publication, and to create an advisory council to study the status of corporate diversity and submit reports to Congress.
Late last year, The New England Council established a Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee to guide the Council’s work to promote diversity and economic equality through federal policy advocacy and educational programming. The Committee identified this legislation as a proposal that would advance these goals.