Senator Harris Working to improve minority business contractsSpringfield, IL – Legislation sponsored by Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) that would raise the state's contract goal for minority and women-owned businesses from 10 percent to 20 percent passed out of committee today.  

Senate Bill 275 increases opportunity for minority and women owned businesses to win state construction contracts. It would require building construction contracts in excess of $250,000 be unbundled or subject to separate and independent bidding processes for each of the five required subdivisions of work. For instance, it would separate plumbing from general contract work.

“This legislation is vital to our communities,” Harris said. “I have been holding local meetings and Minority Business Summits to speak with individuals about legislation that would allow their businesses to thrive. Over and over again I have heard the stark reality of the struggles minority and women-owned businesses face when trying to secure construction contracts. My goal is to ease the burden on these business owners, and give them an equal chance when it comes to winning state contracts.”

Sen. Harris also passed Senate Bill 276 out of committee requiring state agencies to hold pre-bid conferences at a location in the area where the work will take place.

“This is common sense,” said Harris. “Why shouldindividuals who are looking for business opportunities have to drive outside of the area where the proposed business is going to take place?”

Senate Bill 275 and Senate Bill 276 both passed the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee today and will be sent to the Senate floor for debate.