California Legislation Serves as National Model for NGLCC and Local Affiliate Chambers As they Look to Other Industries and States
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Sept. 29, 2014—Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a historic bill that will result in new opportunities for certified businesses owned by those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender—a law that came about through testimony and advocacy by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Brown’s action means public utilities in the state will be required, starting in 2015, to extend existing provisions granted to ethnic minority-, women-, and disable veteran- owned business enterprises to Certified LGBTBE® business owners. It is believed to be the first bill of its kind in the United States and will serve as a model for similar legislation covering other highly regulated industries and in other states.
NGLCC is the business voice of the LGBT community and the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities and advancements of the LGBT business community; it has 38 local affiliate chambers, seven of them in California.
Assemblyman Rich Gordon and Sen. Mark Leno served as lead sponsors of the bill. It covers every electrical, gas, water, wireless telecommunications service provider and telephone corporations with annual revenues exceeding $25 million. It defines an “LGBT business enterprise” as a business that is at least 51 percent owned by a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person or persons, or, in the case of any publicly owned company, at least 51 percent of the stock is to be owned by a LGBT individual or individuals.
“Gov. Brown has further added to his impressive record on economic development and LGBT issues with his signing of this bill into law. We are very proud of the hard work of our team, all seven of our California Local Affiliate Chambers, our Certified LGBTBE® business owners, the California Small Business Association and other allied organizations that made this law not only our priority, but also their priority. We also are grateful for the wide support of this law from diverse business communities and the unwavering and consistent support from AT&T and Southern California Edison,” says Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president.
NGLCC local affiliate chambers in California include the Golden Gate Business Association in San Francisco, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, the Rainbow Chamber of Silicon Valley, the Long Beach Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Desert Business Association in Palm Springs and the Greater San Diego Business Association.
“The LGBT business community owes a huge debt of gratitude to Assemblyman Gordon and Sen. Leno for their hard work in passing this bill that will have real impact on the lives of LGBT California business owners and the many Californians employed by them,” says Chance Mitchell, NGLCC co-founder and CEO.
“This is a major step forward in leveling the playing field for thousands of LGBT business owners in California, and we thank Gov. Brown for his leadership. We eagerly plan to share this success with lawmakers in other states that also see a need to actively include other parts of their diverse populations in the supply chain,” says Sam McClure, NGLCC Vice President of Affiliate Relations and External Affairs.
Nikki Barua, CEO, owner of NGLCC Certified LGBTBE® business Beyond Curious of Los Angeles, is one of the hundreds of businesses that hope to benefit from the law. She says she has tried to win contracts from utilities in the past but feels this will be the help her business needs. Her firm currently works with leading manufacturers and others on cutting-edge digital innovation initiatives.
Nelson notes that in addition to advocacy at the state level, NGLCC is working with several federal agencies through a series of memorandums of understanding to ensure LGBT-owned small businesses have access to contracts that will aid the federal government in meeting its mandated small business procurement goals. NGLCC is also working with several county and municipal governments to open up procurement opportunities to Certified LGBTBE® companies.
NGLCC is the exclusive national third party certification provider for those businesses that qualify as LGBT Business Enterprises. NGLCC certification is accepted by over 150 corporations including public utility corporations.
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT owned businesses.