04/07/2016 17:33 EDT | Updated 04/08/2017 01:12 EDT

Pennsylvania governor bars LGBT discrimination in contracts

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania's Democratic governor is barring state contractors and grant recipients from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed the executive order Thursday. He says he can't wait any longer for Republican lawmakers to move on legislation that would ban such discrimination in employment, housing and public services.

Wolf says Pennsylvania needs to be seen as a welcoming place. The move has the support of some of the state's biggest businesses and business advocacy groups. It comes amid a backlash over what Wolf has called a "discriminatory" bill signed by North Carolina's governor.

Administration officials say tens of thousands of future state contracts, including Medicaid reimbursements and highway construction, will need updated nondiscrimination clauses.

The rules apply to entities that receive potentially tens of billions of dollars a year.

Marc Levy, The Associated Press