Veteran-Owned Small Business Joint Venture State of Minnesota Joins Growing Movement to Promote Veteran-Owned Businesses

5.19.2009 - Posted in E&B Alerts - Government Contracts

On May 16th Minnesota Governor Pawlenty signed into law HF1122, the Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Omnibus Bill. The bill amends Minnesota law to provide a bidding preference for businesses owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans competing for government contracts. The new law specifies that the preference may be as high as six per cent but "no less than the percentage awarded to any other group", including minority-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses, and businesses owned by persons with disabilities. The purpose of the new bidding preference is "to facilitate the transition of veterans from military to civilian life, and to help compensate veterans for their sacrifices . . . to the state and nation during their military service, as well as to enhance economic development within Minnesota." A separate section of the new law authorizes the Commissioner of Transportation to set-aside construction contracts for award only to veteran-owned businesses if three veteran-owned businesses are likely to bid.

Mark Ellson, the president of the Minnesota chapter of the Elite SDVOSB Network, a networking and advocacy group comprised of service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and their affiliates, was instrumental in getting this legislation passed. Tim Connelly of Eckland & Blando LLP testified in favor of the new legislation in the Minnesota legislature. His testimony highlighted the potential of the new law to grow veteran-owned businesses in Minnesota and the economic benefit to the state of having such businesses compete for, and win billions of dollars worth of, federal contracts and subcontracts intended for veteran-owned businesses each year.

Minnesota joins a growing number of states, including Virginia, Florida and California, that have passed similar laws to encourage the establishment and growth of veteran-owned businesses. Every veteran-owned business in Minnesota should become familiar with these new opportunities and watch for the new rules in the coming months.

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