From Illinois Business Journal news services
SPRINGFIELD – A bill that promotes businesses owned by minorities, females and people with disabilities — proposed by state Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville — has passed both houses and now heads to the governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 1334 amends the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities Act by making it a public policy of Illinois to promote each state agency and public institutions of higher education to use businesses owned by the above mentioned groups in the area of professional services.
The bill among other things:
– Includes community college districts in the Business Enterprise Program.
– Doubles Business Enterprise Program goals for construction contracts to 20 percent of all construction contracts.
– Includes state and local retirement systems, investment boards, and pension boards as entities that must set standardized goals for using the named businesses.
“It’s not that Illinois doesn’t have these types of business owners. It’s that we don’t have a guideline for utilizing them,” said Clayborne. “There are so many businesses that have qualified people running them that are just being overlooked.”
Agencies and public institutions of higher education will also be required to adopt policies that identify the plan and implementation procedures while the Business Enterprise Council will file an annual report to the governor and the General Assembly that identifies what firms were used by each State agency and public institution.
“These types of business owners are underrepresented in professional services contracts and it’s time to do something about it. This is the first step to making a change.”
This bill passed the Senate unanimously with a 53-0 vote.