LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would fulfill a promise made to veterans 12 years ago was voted out of the Senate Elections and Government Reform Committee on Thursday.
The legislation, Senate Bill 177, is sponsored by Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) and is designed to ensure that businesses that are veteran owned or have demonstrated a commitment to hiring veterans are given preference when bidding for state contracts.
“One of the many sacrifices made by our veterans and their families when they serve us is that their private sector career may be stunted,” Sen. Colbeck said. “While our veterans were defending our freedom, they were often not able to advance up the corporate ladder or sometimes simply take advantage of job opportunities when they occurred.
“The best way to mitigate the risk of homeless veterans is to ensure that they have access to jobs. SB 177 clearly demonstrates that veteran employment is a priority for the state of Michigan.”
SB 177 is designed to rectify the state’s failure to honor a commitment to ensure that 5 percent of the state’s expenditures would go to service-disabled veterans. The legislation would replace a cap on veteran incentives for service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses with a minimum threshold that is extended to veteran-owned businesses and the number of veterans employed.
The legislation also would increase transparency within the procurement process regarding contract expectations and vendor profiles and would further establish significant penalties for false claims regarding bidder employment profiles.
In addition to the senator, Greg Stachura with the Veteran Owned Business Roundtable testified in support of the bill. The roundtable played a prominent role in the expansion of the number of veterans who could qualify under the legislation.
Stachura discussed how the promise made to veterans 12 years ago in the original 2005 legislation was frequently overlooked by some state departments. SB 177 renews the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget and the Legislature’s commitment to veteran employment and procurement transparency.
SB 177 received a unanimous vote out of committee and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.