The state of Illinois has passed a new law intended to help business owners, who happen to be women and minorities, more fairly compete for state-funded construction and business contracts.
“This new law will level the playing field and provide equal opportunity for all firms to participate in state projects,” says Governor Pat Quinn. “I am committed to doing everything necessary to ensure that participation in our public works projects reflects the rich diversity of our state.”
Senate Bill 2320, sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), allows businesses that are owned by females,and who are also minorities, to be certified as both “female owned businesses” and “minority owned businesses.” In the past, businesses participating in state contracts had to select one designation or the other. The legislation is expected to increase the number of vendors in both categories, and their chance to participate in bidding for state contracts.
“I’m pleased that our state is finally recognizing the full diversity of our business community,” says Senator Hunter. “If a business is owned by someone who is a racial minority and of the female gender, the classification of that enterprise should be able to reflect that.”
“To make our state more business-friendly we must improve economic opportunities for all,” says Representative Gabel. “There are many qualified female and minority business owners who deserve fair consideration for state contracts and a more competitive bidding process will help lower costs for the state.”
The new law takes effect immediately. ❒
[Photo of Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter courtesy of Illinois General Assembly]