GGBA and Public Policy/Public Affairs

The Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) advocates for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) businesses at every level of government and business affairs, convening a broad cross-section of the LGBT business community, and our key allies, to develop and implement policy, establish a clear and persuasive voice in government and business affairs, and play an active role in the city of San Francisco, state of California, nationally and when necessary, internationally.  

The primary public policy focus of the GGBA’s LGBT advocacy is San Francisco and the Bay Area as a region; therefore, we only engage in state and federal policies and legislation if they impact LGBT businesses in San Francisco and the Bay Area, our economy or business climate.  


Table of contents

  1. Key Recent Public Policy Achievements include:
  2. Want to get involved in the GGBA’s Public Policy Committee?
  3. GGBA’s Guiding Principles for Public Policy/Public Affairs
  4. GGBA’s Advocacy Partners
  5. GGBA’s Process for Acting on a Public Policy Issue(s)
  6. GGBA’s Policy on Time Sensitive Items


Key Recent Public Policy Achievements include:

  • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) – Inclusion of LGBT businesses in procurements
  • Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) – Inclusion of LGBT businesses in procurements
  • Passage of AB1678 – inclusion of LGBT businesses to CA Public Utilities procurements
  • Super Bowl 50 – First-ever inclusion of LGBT businesses by National Football League
  • San Francisco LBE Certification – Self Identification as LGBT business status
  • Advocated/Won selection of first-ever LGBT business being named 2016 National Small Business of the Year – Equator Coffees

Want to get involved in the GGBA’s Public Policy Committee?

Are you interested in LGBT and/or small business policy issues? Join the GGBA’s monthly Public Policy Committee Meetings where we address/discuss matter of Civil Rights, Economic Prosperity and Legislation that impacts the LGBT business community and our allies.

Contact: publicpolicy@ggba.com

GGBA’s Guiding Principles for Public Policy/Public Affairs

The following principles have been established to guide the public policy mission of the GGBA, to both protect the interests of the business community and ensure the city and region have the business climate and operational infrastructure needed for the 21st century.

  • View the private sector as a partner in serving the needs of the public and the LGBT community as a whole.
  • Ensure that government works to foster a political and policy climate that supports economic investments, the expansion of employment and business activity especially within the LGBT community.
  • Ensure that government adopts laws and regulations that comply with and support its economic strategy.
  • Ensure that regulations on business are reasonable and do not put San Francisco/Bay Area LGBT businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
  • Require government to be accountable for its actions and for the programs it operates and that it is measured periodically to ensure maximum efficiency and return on investment in public funds.
  • Ensure the protection of private property rights.
  • Encourage a tax system that is market competitive.
  • Promote a legal system that contains checks and balances to ensure fairness to all.
  • Provide an educational system that prepares people for jobs and fosters the empowerment of LGBT youth.
  • Encourage cooperation among government agencies and reduce the proliferation of additional regulatory agencies.
  • Promote the quality of life that ensures San Francisco and the Bay Area remain an attractive place to live, work, visit and do business.
  • Promote economic development opportunities in San Francisco and the Bay Area for business of all types.
  • Provide an adequate supply of housing and a modern transportation infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing region.
  • Support policies that improve San Francisco’s sustainability, disaster resilience and ability to adapt to climate change.
  • Supports programs and efforts that assist start-up businesses and provide development and support services to small businesses. Specifically, the GGBA believes that helping small businesses understand regulatory requirements, employment law, contracts and financing, and certain mandates results in economic growth and prosperity.

GGBA’s LGBT Advocacy Partners

The GGBA is honored to be an active participant with the following advocacy organizations:

  • California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
  • California Small Business Association
  • National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  • San Francisco Hotel Council
  • San Francisco Small Business Network (SBN)
  • SF Travel
  • Small Business California
  • Western Business Alliance (WBA)

Our governmental advocacy partners include:

  • California Department of General Services
  • California Governor’s Office of Go-Biz
  • California Public Utilities Commission
  • San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development
  • San Francisco Office of Small Business Affairs
  • United State Small Business Administration (SBA)

GGBA’s Process for Acting on a Public Policy Issue(s)

Phase I – Applicability

Upon request by a member of the organization, or an external source, to act on an item, the GGBA will first implement the following guidelines:

  1. Does the item further the vision or mission of GGBA? 2. Does the item have an impact on the general membership? 3. Does the item clearly fall under a position within the current, Board-adopted, Public Policy Agenda? 4. Does the item fall outside the Public Policy Agenda and have a significant impact on the greater community such that GGBA should consider taking a position?

A ‘no’ answer to questions 1 or 2 determines that the item cannot be taken up by GGBA.   

BOARD ACTION CLAUSE:  If the item meets criteria 1, 2 and 3 or 4, and the item is a request for an endorsement of a position on an initiative, referendum or other ballot measure, a majority vote shall be required by the Board of its members in attendance at a regular or special Board meeting.  In addition if the item is a non-ballot public policy issue, the Public Policy Committee shall provide notice as set forth in Phase III below to the Board before GGBA releases a  public statement on such issue.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Board may direct further vetting by the Public Policy Committee.

Phase II – Research & Due Diligence

Once applicability has been satisfied the Committee, the following steps will be implemented to ensure the item is fully evaluated.  The Public Policy Committee is empowered by the Board to delegate some or all of these tasks to the Committee:

  1. Obtain a copy of the item (proposal, bill, referendum, initiative, etc. whenever possible or applicable).
  2. Obtain relevant information on the item from the official proponents and opponents of the item (as applicable). 3. Invite a representative from the official proponent and opponent to present their position to the Committee or Board (as deemed necessary). 4. Solicit membership feedback on how an item may affect their business (as deemed necessary).  This shall include but not be limited to surveys, focus groups, forums, targeted conversations, etc.

Phase III – Analysis, Communication & Action

Once all relevant information to an item is gathered, the Public Policy Committee will analyze the item including how it might affect GGBA’s membership, small businesses, the greater community, etc.

The Board will determine by a simple majority vote of those present and/or via phone to take one (or a combination) of the following actions on the item on behalf of the Board and GGBA

  1. Endorse a position (in favor or opposed to) 2. Refuse to take a position 3. Refer the matter for further research to the Public Policy Committee 4. Refer the matter for action to the Public Policy Committee 5. Recommendation to the Board for a vote (only required if criteria of the Board Action Clause is satisfied)

Prior to public release of any position statement, the Public Policy Committee is required to provide 24-hour notice to the Board via email of the position with an explanation of the item and its rationale.  If any substantive objection(s) is (are) raised by at least one-third of sitting Board members then the item cannot be publically released until the Board has the opportunity vote on the item at the next regular or special Board meeting.

It is the responsibility of the Committee Chair (or a designated Committee member) to inform the Board of the Committee’s actions via Board Report with or without an oral presentation at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting, at the Chair’s discretion.


GGBA’s Policy on Time Sensitive Items

If an item requires immediate action and the full Board of Directors cannot be brought together in person, via phone, or via email for discussion and action then the President of the Board of Directors, Vice-President of the Board of Directors, Chief Financial Officer of the Board of Directors and the Public Policy Committee chair may take appropriate action provided all phases are appropriately executed and the decision is unanimous.  Input from the Executive Manager will also be included in the processing of time-sensitive matters/requests for position

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