Pritzker signs stripped-down corporate diversity bill, calls it a ‘big first step’ August 27 2019 Mary Ellen Podmolik and Dan Petrella Chicago Tribune Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation Tuesday that will lead to an annual report on the gender, racial and ethnic diversity on the corporate boards of Illinois’ publicly traded companies. Beginning in 2021, companies headquartered in the state will submit to the Illinois Secretary of State by Jan. 1 an annual report on their board membership and how they identify and appoint diverse candidates to their boards. The University of Illinois will use the data to establish a rating system for those companies in an effort to boost diversity. The law directs the analysis to be published annually by March 1. The measure signed Tuesday is dramatically pared down from the version authored by Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, that passed the House in March. H.B. 3394 would have required Illinois companies to have at least one woman, African American and Latino on their boards. The version that passed the Senate in June, however, removed that requirement and substituted the annual report card. At the time, The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who with his civil rights organization Rainbow/PUSH Coalition has purchased stock in several public companies and attended shareholder meetings to address the issue of corporate diversity, told the Tribune the bill was “gutted.” Felicia Davis, President and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women, said the end result was “significantly watered-down and has no regulatory teeth.” Data collected by the Tribune May 8 showed that, of the 30 most valuable companies according to market capitalization in Illinois, all but one had at least three women on their boards. Half had only one African American and six of them had no African Americans as of that date. Half of the boards had no Latinos at all, and the rest had only one Latino board member or declined to comment. Asked by a Tribune reporter Tuesday to address criticism of the revamped measure, Pritzker called the law a “big first step.” “Shining a light on this issue is hugely important, and you can’t shine a light on it without the data, without showing people what the public companies that are based here in Illinois are doing on their corporate boards,” Pritzker said. “And then we intend to hold it up and show people who the good actors are, who’s doing the right thing, and who needs help — and how we can provide them help to diversify their boards.” Read the original article here.