The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) which is designed to encourage state agencies to contract with veteran-owned small businesses.
Senate Bill 162 would require the Department of General Services to supervise the effort, and would set an annual contracting goal of not less than 5 percent for contracts of small businesses owned by veterans. Under the bill, the Department of General Services would provide staff and training to help veteran-owned businesses learn how to apply for state contracts. The department would also compile and make available lists of veteran-owned businesses to encourage procurement.
“This legislation will help to ensure that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gives our veterans, particularly those with service-related disabilities, proper consideration for contracting opportunities with the state government,” Tomlinson said. “It is also a fitting demonstration of our country’s ongoing commitment to assist those who have sacrificed so much to protect our nation and its citizens.”
He said the legislation emphasizes the importance of training and hiring veterans who are returning home after serving their country. It would require the Department of General Services to identify business that hire veterans and certify them as “veteran workforce utilization businesses.”
Tomlinson said his bill is an outgrowth of a successful program, VETWORK YOUR BUSINESS, which was launched in 2005 by The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. It provides service-disabled veterans and veteran owned businesses with the training and contacts necessary to access large private sector companies for contract opportunities.
“Senate Bill 162 would take this concept and apply it to state contracting to ensure that veterans are aware of the business opportunities that are available to them with Commonwealth agencies,” he said. “This legislation will give veterans access to valuable small business resources, tools, contacts, and networks that will help them to grow and succeed.”
The bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate.