Senate Passes Tomlinson Bill to Assist PA Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

(HARRISBURG) — The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) that is aimed at encouraging stage agencies to contract with veteran-owned small businesses.

Senate Bill 623 would require the Department of General Services to set an annual contracting goal of not less than 5 percent for contracts of small businesses owned by veterans. Currently, these targets exist for businesses owned by women and minorities, but there is no such provision for veterans.  The bill is modeled after similar veteran work promotion programs established by federal procurement standards as well as programs in California, Michigan and Missouri.

“This legislation will help to ensure that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gives our veterans fair contracting opportunities with the state government,” Tomlinson said. “Our service men and women are often forced to leave their jobs in order to serve our country. It is only fitting that we provide them with the assistance to grow their businesses when they return home.”

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 and report to the General Assembly the total contract dollars awarded to these companies. The legislation was amended to include service-disabled veterans and to exempt contracts under $50,000 from bonding requirements.

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 support and contacts necessary to access large private sector companies for contract opportunities.

“Senate Bill 623 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. “Veterans will gain access to valuable small business resources, tools, contacts, and networks that will help them to grow and succeed.”

CONTACT:

Fran Cleaver
(717) 787-5072