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May 17, 2012

Senate OKs bill for vets

Tonawanda News — The state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill aimed to help disabled veterans by granting them preference in obtaining competitive state contracts.

The bill, which has now been sent to the Assembly for consideration, would give greater access to state contracts among businessmen who were disabled during their military service.

“We must strengthen opportunities in state contracting for service-disabled veteran owned small businesses,” said state Sen. Greg Ball, R-Pawling, who currently chairs the Senate committee on veterans, homeland security and military affairs.

Ball, the bill’s lead sponsor, said such veterans, who often suffer a range of lasting effects resulting from their injury, should benefit from the plan, if it were to become law.

“The extraordinary service rendered to our nation by veterans returning with injuries incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during active service with the armed services is worthy of providing a contract preference to all service-disabled veteran businesses. With the number of returning veterans suffering with ailments like traumatic brain injury, this bill would provide a small measure of recognition and support that these heroes so fully deserve,” he said in a press release.

The legislation would require that state agencies provide the opportunity for service-disabled veterans’ businesses to obtain state contracts, according to a statement issued Wednesday.

Further, it would seek to have small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans comprise a “minimum of 3 percent” of the agency’s total contracts. The bill also details new reporting standards to help state agencies comply with the requirement, and requires officials including the state’s Attorney General to enforce them.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was quoted as saying the bill mirrors similar federal legislation that’s already been enacted.

“Disabled veterans deserve an opportunity to participate in obtaining contracts with state agencies for their small businesses. This legislation has been effective on the federal level and I am happy that we are making similar initiatives on behalf of disabled veterans in New York state,” Skelos said.

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