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New California law gives LGBT-owned businesses a boost

The first-of-its-kind law in California will require big public utilities companies in the state to report how much work they do with LGBT business owners as they do with other specific groups

New California law gives LGBT-owned businesses a boost

Electrical, gas, water and telephone companies as well as wireless telecommunications service providers in California with annual revenues of more than US$25 million will be required to report how much work they do with LGBT-owned businesses.

Current laws already require public utilities companies to report how many businesses they contract with are owned by designated ethnic minorities, women and disabled veterans under the Supplier Diversity Program which is administered by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1678 was authored by gay Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The bill was sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored by gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) in the Senate, according to the Bay Area Reporter.

A company can be certified as being LGBT-owned if it is at least 51 percent owned by a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person or persons. Applicants have to submit documents proving ownership and proof of their lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual status by way of private references or other evidence to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, an advocacy group primarily based in Washington, DC.

The law, which took effect on Jan 1, doesn’t mandate any contracting, but it does give the public a chance to see which businesses have won contracts.


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