Baird-sponsored bill to expand opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses in Indiana

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Jim Baird

Legislation expanding veteran-owned, small business opportunities has unanimously passed out of the Indiana House.

Senate Bill (SB) 564, sponsored by District 44 State Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle), will now go to the governor's desk to await his signature before becoming a law.

The bill aims to increase the number of state contracts secured by veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs).

Working toward this goal, SB 564 allows those businesses to receive a 15 percent price preference for those contract bids. Furthermore, SB 564 requires the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to simplify contract conditions and assist VOSBs in the bidding process.

However, the products and/or services must meet the state's contract requirements, and the VOSB must submit a request for proposal and follow all other contract guidelines.

"Our Hoosier veterans sacrifice a great deal for our state, and I believe it is important to provide them with the tools they need to succeed in their civilian affairs," said Rep. Baird, a Vietnam veteran himself.

"According to the Indiana Business Research Center, there are roughly 71,000 veteran-owned small businesses," Baird added, "and this bill is another step toward creating an environment where those businesses can thrive."

Additionally, SB 564 would allow VOSBs to obtain up to three percent of all state contracts.

The bill requires the IEDC to submit a list of all VOSBs to the Indiana Department of Administration. With that information, the IDOA, which maintains records of all state contract bids, is required to produce an annual report to the governor, Department of Veteran Affairs and the General Assembly to make adjustments or recommendations so that the three percent goal might be achieved.

"Tracking the progress of state contracting bids by veteran-owned small businesses demonstrates Indiana's commitment to achieving the three percent goal," Baird said. "As the unemployment rate for veterans remains considerably higher than the national average, I am pleased this bill aims to reduce that number by helping those businesses grow."

Once signed into law, the bill will go into effect July 1, 2013.

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