By Joe Cutter/NJ 101.5
A "bipartisan repair" is under way Trenton for legislation that was designed to give disabled veteran business owners 3 percent of all state contracts.
Republican Assemblyman Ryan Peters, who served multiple combat tours as a Navy Seal, described what he sees wrong with the "Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Program" as it currently exists: "They made the requirement that they had to have their principal place of business in New Jersey (and) frankly nobody was able to meet the requirement for each contract."
He said the program, established in 2015, was a "good-intent" bill.
"And as they say, there is no perfect legislation, but they tried it," Peters said. "And frankly, it just didn't work out."
Peters said a lot of disabled veterans operate businesses in New Jersey, but they may be incorporated in other states. An amended version of the bill would eliminate the need for the business to have its principal place of residency in New Jersey.
Seven other states have enacted similar legislation for service-disabled veteran businesses. According to Peters, the other programs in other states have less stringent regulations so they can meet their goals.
Peters' bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Assemblymen Bruce Land and Matthew Milam. Land said, "as a former Viet Nam veteran, I am always supportive of legislation that helps veterans with the state. This bill would allow more veterans to have the opportunity to be awarded state agency contracts."