New Jersey Moves to Allow Veteran Preference on Local Government Contracts
New Jersey is seriously considering new legislation that would allow local governments to implement a public contract set-aside program for businesses that are owned by or that employ veterans. The bill, which was drafted by Senator Donald Norcross and Assembly Member Angel Fuentes and Gilbert “Whip” Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester) is now headed to the governor’s desk for approval.
Current New Jersey law allows local governments to designate up to 3% of local contracts to small businesses, as well as those owned by women and minorities. The veteran set-aside bill opens that provision to businesses owned by or that employ veterans.
To qualify under the new bill, a business must be at least 51% controlled or owned by a veteran, or must employ veterans to complete the contract. In authorizing the program, the governing body of a county or municipality would have to establish a goal for its contracting agencies of setting aside a certain percentage of the dollar value of total procurements to be awarded to qualified veteran businesses.
The bill was passed by the Assembly and the Senate earlier this month and will now go to the Governor’s desk.