For the first time, California would ask its contractors if they are gay under legislation passed Monday by the Assembly.
The measure, Assembly Bill 1960, would enable the owners of businesses that contract with the state to identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It would not require them to do so.
The Assembly vote was 47-24, with only one Republican supporting it. The bill now heads to the Senate.
The Department of General Services currently is required to collect data on contractors by race, ethnicity and gender. AB 1960 would add LGBT-owned businesses to that list.
The bill by Sacramento Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson seeks data involving state contracts for construction, professional services, and for the purchase of materials, supplies or equipment.
Dickinson said the measure would allow state officials and gay or lesbian groups to better pinpoint the extent to which LGBT-owned businesses are helping to drive the state economy.
Republicans, in floor debate, said the state should not be delving so deeply into people's private lives and that the data collected is not likely to be accurate because of hesitancy in reporting sexuality.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee has estimated that AB 1960 would cost the state $20,000 to update its forms and reporting instructions, then $35,000 annually to inform departments and compile data.
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