Senate unanimously passes bill to boost women businesses

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ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER SUSANA MENDOZA (right) is pictured presenting her office budget before the House Appropriations Committee. Seated next to Mendoza is State Senator Toi Hutchinson who sponsored the bill proposed by Mendoza establishing 20% of contracts be awarded to women and minority-owned businesses.

The Illinois Senate unanimously passed legislation, proposed by Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza and introduced by Senator Toi Hutchinson, that will require Constitutional Officers to aspire to the same goals state agencies do of working with businesses owned by women, minorities and people with disabilities.

Senate Bill 3106 requires state constitutional officers to establish aspirational goals for contract awards substantially in accordance with specified provisions of the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Women, and Persons with Disabilities Act. Under this act, 20% of contracts awarded to businesses by Constitutional Officers, including the Comptroller’s Office, should go to businesses owned by minorities, women and individuals living with disabilities.

“This marks the first time in our state’s history that BEP goals will be applied to all procurements for the Office of the Comptroller,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “This is just one more step we can take towards making state government better represent and support those it serves. Encouraging the growth of these businesses will lead to a more competitive environment for contracts and, eventually, potential savings for the state.”

Constitutional officers will be required to report annually on their websites how their office preforms in accordance with BEP procurement guidelines. SB 3106 was approved by the Senate 50-0 Thursday.

“The most important part of actually supporting the growth of these small businesses is when people in positions of authority actually make this a priority. I am thrilled that Comptroller Mendoza believes that we can either talk about it, or do something about it,” Senator Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, said.

The bill now moves to the House, where Representative Will Davis, D-Homewood, is the sponsor.

“I am pleased that Comptroller Mendoza and other constitutional officers took this initiative,” Representative Davis said. “This will help ensure that business contracts with the state become more equitable, and that helps everyone.”

 

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