Senate committee hears testimony on Richardville veterans legislation
LANSING - The Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs Committee today heard testimony regarding legislation that will honor Michigan's military veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts by providing them with services for their small business operations.
Sen. Randy Richardville, the bill's sponsor, testified about the importance of the measure.
"A number of veterans and active-duty service members in the U.S. armed forces own and operate small businesses," said Richardville, R-Monroe. "They play a vital role in our country's economic stability.
"During times of war, when these service members are fighting to protect our freedom, it is especially hard for them to keep their businesses going. This legislation will help acknowledge their role in protecting our country by providing a variety of vital business services."
Senate Bill 732 will establish a "Michigan Patriot Business" designation for companies having at least 50 percent ownership by one or more active service members or veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. would promote these businesses on its Web site, and the Michigan Strategic Fund would maintain a list of the qualified businesses.
The bill will also help provide the businesses with assistance for developmental and expansion projects; application processes for federal grants; the creation of partnerships with professional trade organizations; and business contract procurement with governmental and private sources.
Richardville said one of the main goals of the measure is to provide support for service members when they return home.
"As the former chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, I talked to many Vietnam veterans who returned to the United States lacking support from many of our countrymen because of the unpopularity of the war," Richardville said. "Regardless of whether or not a war is popular, it is absolutely critical for us to stand behind the courageous men and women who serve our nation."
The legislation will remain in the Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs Committee for further review and consideration.
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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