By Sarah Davasher-Wisdom
GLI SVP of Public Affairs and Strategy
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Our region has the potential to realize an incredible opportunity during the 2016 Kentucky legislative session by passing HB 50.
The Public Benefit Corporation legislation passed the House and is now under consideration in the Senate. It will provide access to more than $1.5 billion in philanthropic dollars presently under-utilized statewide by giving businesses the freedom to consider public benefit in addition to profit. Essentially, this creates an economic development program by permitting a new market of social enterprises and impact investors at no added cost to the state.
Current law makes it difficult for investors and entrepreneurs to know when they are allowed to consider additional interests, such as public benefit. Due to this legal uncertainty, directors still fear civil claims if they depart from their fiduciary duties to maximize profit.
Public benefit corporations are accountable and transparent, and allow businesses operating in the free market to decide how to improve society, and actively work to bring the vision to life.
Indiana and 30 other states have passed Public Benefit Corporation legislation. Kentucky must pass it to attract, grow, and retain great businesses that declare a specific public benefit as central to their existence.