Legislation championed by State Senator Cristina Castro that will make it easier for veterans, women, minorities and people with disabilities to secure state contracts and economic opportunities through a streamlined procurement process is headed to the governor.

“Through these fixes, we are cutting red tape, providing flexibility in contracting and helping Illinois’ business environment to be more efficient,” said Castro (D-Elgin), co-chair of the State Procurement Task Force. “It’s just common sense to ensure our public dollars are used to the maximum extent and benefit every community.”

Under the legislation, corporations that hold state contracts would be subject to additional transparency requirements to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent with a diverse range of contractors and suppliers. The measure also enhances transparency in the Business Enterprise Council by requiring the annual small business report to be made public. Further, it expands the veteran-owned small business criteria to include businesses earning up to $150 million annually, rather than $75 million.

In the months following the governor’s amendatory veto of the original legislation in August, the bill’s sponsors have worked with advocates, agencies and the governor’s office to bring forth a solution that ensures streamlining and transparency are at the forefront of its provisions.

“By working across the aisle with members of the General Assembly, state agencies, universities, small business owners and others, we are able to make our procurement process more equitable for women and minority- and veteran-owned businesses,” said Castro. “In addition to expanding opportunities for minorities, veterans and people with disabilities, this legislation provides additional time for contractors to remedy procurement issues and gives further support to the University of Illinois in its procurement process.”

Among other provisions, Castro’s legislation makes a number of changes to improve state contracts for veterans, women, people with disabilities and minorities, streamlines the procurement process, and grants flexibility to universities, small businesses and contractors. It also permits the state to enter into contracts with nonprofit agencies that serve people with disabilities.

House Bill 2878 passed both chambers of the General Assembly and moves to the governor for final action.