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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2022 12:36 PM
From: Representative David H. Rowe
To: All House members
Subject: Veteran Owned Small Business Classification
In the near future I plan to introduce legislation that will require that a veteran-owned business (VOB) be considered a small diverse business (SDB).

Previous to policy put out from the governor’s office, VOBs were considered SDBs. This classification was taken away from our Commonwealth’s veteran-owned businesses, without any hearing or input from their representatives in both the PA House and Senate. Due to the policy changes that were implemented veteran-owned businesses are required to seek a separate small diverse verification to be considered an SDB. Under this new policy, a veteran-owned business could only receive this designation if the veteran proves they are also part of another designation.

A 2018 Disparity Study released by the Department of General Services, has highlighted the continuous struggles that veterans face as opposed to non-veterans in many areas relating to business. However, the new policy, a result predicated by an Executive Order (2015-11) by the Governor issued in September 2015, requires the VOBs be certified by a third-party certifier at the federal level (VetBiz), or fit another “diverse category”, to be considered an SDB, a designation they enjoyed prior to the policy change, executed without legislative approval.

Despite the 2018 Disparity Study, which indicated already low participation rates, the administration chose to move forward with implementation of the policy, adding to the existing struggles that veteran-owned businesses face when trying to successfully start and run a small business.
I believe that it is our obligatory duty to help the brave men and women, who have fearlessly answered the call of duty to serve our great country. For those who have done so much for us, it is our mission to help them in return.  To take away benefits and opportunities enjoyed by our veteran-owned businesses is simply inconceivable to me and should be rectified immediately.

Please consider joining me in this effort to restore a statutory benefit previously afforded our veterans and require that all Commonwealth departments and agencies, especially the Department of General Services, recognize and designate all veteran-owned business to be small diverse businesses.

Introduced as HB92