California Legislature Passes Bill, It Advances to Governor’s Desk
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Aug. 27, 2014—Testimony and advocacy by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce successfully encouraged the California Assembly and State Senate to approve bill AB 1678 that would result in new opportunities for businesses owned by those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. It is believed to be the first bill of its kind in the United States and now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.
NGLCC is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities and advancements of the LGBT business community; it has seven local affiliate chambers in California. When the bill becomes law, public utilities in the state would be required to extend existing provisions granted to ethnic minority-, women-, and disable veteran- owned business enterprises to LGBT certified business owners.
Assemblyman Rich Gordon served as the bill’s lead sponsor. “I applaud NGLCC for its exceptional work in developing and supporting this legislation. Not only does the bill establish equity for LGBT business owners, but it is also generates additional opportunities, spurring continued recovery and economic growth throughout California.”
The bill, which was sponsored in the State Senate by Sen. Mark Leno, 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.
“This is a major step forward in leveling the playing field for thousands of LGBT business owners in California, and it is our hope Gov. Brown will sign this bill very soon,” says Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president.
“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.
“We are very proud of the hard work of our team, all seven of our California Local Affiliate Chambers, our certified LGBT business owners, the California Small Business Association and other allied organizations that made passing this bill not only our priority, but also their priority. We are hopeful the wide support of this bill from diverse business communities and the unwavering and consistent support from AT&T and Southern California Edison will ensure Gov. Brown signs the bill quickly,” says Sam McClure, NGLCC Vice President of Affiliate Relations and External Affairs.
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 LGBT businesses.
As the exclusive national third party certification organization, becoming certified as an LGBT Business Enterprises by NGLCC is the most direct way for LGBT businesses to meet this bar. 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.
Its seven affiliate chapters in California are:
* Desert Business Association, Palm Springs
* Golden Gate Business Association
* Greater San Diego Business Association
* Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
* Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
* Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley
* Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce