Bill Wants California’s Minority-owned Businesses to Get Better Access to Energy Dollars

SACRAMENTO – A bill in the State Assembly would push California Energy Commission grantees and loan recipients to increase procurement from California small businesses and bring jobs and opportunities to underserved communities.

The measure, Assembly Bill 865, introduced by Assembly Member Luis Alejo (Dem-Salinas), would require recipients of Energy Commission funding – which supports projects such as energy conservation and clean power – to report annually on their minority-, women-, LGBT- and disabled veteran-owned business procurement efforts.

The bill is modeled on successful programs already covering the state’s utilities, telecommunications companies and insurers.

“AB 865 will allow minority owned businesses to have increased opportunities for job growth and a fair chance to obtain contracts with major corporations,” stated Alejo.

“To ensure accountability, the bill also requires the establishment of a Diversity Task Force.  This task force will review and make recommendations about diversity in the energy industry and promote those actively engaging in diversity issues,” the Assembly member added.

Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Vien Truong lauded Alejo’s bill. “Entrepreneurship is key to the American dream, and diverse businesses deserve a fair shot at contracts with major corporations,” Truong said. “The Energy Commission invests much of California’s funds on clean energy and energy efficiency. This is the logical next step in the effort to make sure California’s climate change policies bring real benefits to underserved communities.”

Truong noted that AB 865 builds upon the successes of the California Public Utilities Commission’s supplier diversity program, which has produced a steady increase in contracting by utility and telecommunications companies with businesses owned by women, minorities and disabled veterans, generating billions of dollars in contracts with diverse firms.

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