AB 1960, which directs the California Department of General Services to collect voluntarily submitted information on gay-owned businesses contracting with the state of California, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday, Sept. 30.

The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) and co-authored by the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, would require that information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) owned business enterprises be included along with information already being collected about minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises as reported by the California Department of General Services.

“AB 1960 helps break down discriminatory barriers facing LGBT business owners by recognizing the size and value of their contribution to our economy,” said Assemblymember Dickinson. “With the Governor’s signature, California is now the first state to have a law dedicated to the advancement of LGBT-owned businesses.”

California law prohibits contracting preferences or quotas for minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises; however, data about those enterprises is collected for statistical and reporting purposes on a voluntary basis. The inclusion of information about LGBT-owned enterprises will yield valuable data, said Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Dr. Darrick Lawson.

“There has been no official data  available about the number of LGBT-owned businesses in our state,” Lawson said. “Collection and reporting of information on gay-owned businesses will be of tremendous value to organizations like ours that serve small businesses, to marketers, and to business-to-business companies that want to target the LGBT market. For the first time in history, we’ll have at least a partial picture of the economic contributions of LGBT-owned businesses statewide.”

The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce  approached Assemblymember Dickinson about drafting AB 1960 with the encouragement and support of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), which is the exclusive certification body for LGBT business enterprises and the direct link between corporate purchasers and LGBT suppliers.The measure received numerous letters of support from organizations nationwide and corporations such as American Airlines and Toyota Financial Services that include LGBT-owned businesses in their supplier diversity programs.

Established in 2001, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business owners and professionals and allies in the Greater Sacramento region. The Chamber works to build a prosperous and inclusive business community and to support issues that promote business development and equal rights for all people.  The Chamber and its non-profit affiliate, the Rainbow Chamber Foundation, have contributed more than $36,000 to charitable causes, including youth scholarships and programs for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. For more information, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.