California Bill to Support Gay-Owned Businesses Advances
April 12, SACRAMENTO— A bill that would make California the first state in the nation to have a bill dedicated to the advancement of gay-owned businesses passed its first legislative hurdle.
On Tuesday, April 10, AB 1960, was passed out of the California State Assembly Committee on Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection on a 6-2 vote. AB 1960 is now referred to the California State Assembly Committee on Appropriations.
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 about minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises as reported by the California Department of General Services. 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.
Committee hearing testimony in support of the bill was provided by Dr. Darrick Lawson, Rainbow PAC Chair; with Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce President Bonnie Osborn, and Benjamin Phillips-Leseñana, Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center Board Member and Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Board Member also appearing in support. The measure received 23 letters of support from organizations and companies, including American Airlines and Toyota Financial Services.
“Minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises, along with LGBT-owned businesses, make up a large share of the small businesses that are major economic drivers and job creators for our state,” Dickinson said. “Having access to accurate information about small business owners and their needs will help inform the state on how to best serve small businesses that are vital to our economy, as well as lay the groundwork for future growth.”
“The existence of successful LGBT businesses has often been unacknowledged or ignored due to prejudice, even as they brought vitality and prosperity to their communities,” Phillips-Leseñana said. “With this legislation, the state of California acknowledges that LGBT-owned businesses are valued equally with other small businesses as important contributors to the economic growth and social fabric of our state.”
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“Simply having data about LGBT-owned businesses available will be of tremendous value to organizations serving LGBT businesses, to marketers, and to business-to-business companies interested in marketing to LGBT-owned businesses,” said Chamber Vice President Dr. Darrick Lawson. “For the first time in history we’ll be able to get a picture of the economic contributions of LGBT-owned businesses statewide.”
The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is an affiliate 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.
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 $30,000 to charitable causes, including youth scholarships and programs for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. For more information, visit www.rainbowchamber.com.