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Contract preference expansion (new law)

Published (5/25/2012)
By Sue Hegarty
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A construction bid program that allows up to a 6 percent bid preference to veteran-owned small businesses will expand.

Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) and Sen. Al DeKruif (R-Madison Lake), a new law, mostly effective May 1, 2012, will enable the transportation commissioner to designate a construction contract to be awarded only to veteran-owned small businesses, if at least three such businesses are likely to bid.

The purpose is to help veterans transition from military to civilian life and to “keep that pool of talent here in Minnesota,” Dettmer said.

While most of the work awarded thus far has been in the area of manual labor, the law will expand bid preferences for construction-related goods and services. That may mean that veteran-owned architectural and design businesses could be included in the program.

Counties will be able to create a similar hiring preference program. This section takes effect July 1, 2012.

Goals will be set by the commissioner for prime contractors to subcontract to small targeted businesses, such as veteran-owned companies. The prime contractors may receive financial incentives for exceeding the set goals.

A biennial report will be due to the Legislature, providing a summary of the program and recommendations for any changes.

HF1821/ SF1597*/CH254

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