A new law sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro addresses a number of procurement issues and aims to increase diversity and efficiency throughout the state’s commerce process.

“Ensuring our state agencies, universities, vendors, suppliers and minority contractors can contract and complete projects more efficiently, transparently and sustainably is at the core of this law,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “Streamlining the process and expanding supplier diversity measures opens the door to new opportunities for veteran- and minority-owned contractors — not just the big firms — who have worked for years to secure contracts to work on important projects in our state.”

The law makes a number of changes to streamline the procurement process. It subjects corporations that hold state contracts to additional transparency requirements and enhances transparency in the Business Enterprise Council by requiring the annual small business report to be made public.

The law also addresses areas of procurement that have historically shut out opportunities for small contractors, bidders and vendors. The measure reforms the construction bond process, among other changes, to make it easier for smaller firms to bid on and gain valuable state contracts and ensuring they are paid for their work. Further, the law expands the veteran-owned small business criteria to include businesses earning up to $150 million annually, rather than $75 million, and permits the state to enter into contracts with nonprofit agencies serving people with disabilities.

“With equity at the forefront and state and federal funding flowing to critical infrastructure projects, we are on a path to becoming the gold standard in workforce equity, reliable energy and infrastructure advancements,” said Castro. “This law ensures safeguards and flexibilities are in place so our state is in a position to capitalize on growing investments in this industry.”

House Bill 2878 was signed into law Friday.