HARRISBURG – Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20) today voted for three bills approved by the state Senate to help veterans start or expand a business, access programs and services available to them, and make it easier for disabled veterans to obtain a free lifetime fishing license.
“We are constantly looking for ways to open opportunities for the men and women who have served our state and nation. These three bills provide a highly useful line of financing for veteran-owned businesses, strengthen services connecting veterans with assistance and benefits they have earned, and eliminating fees for a pursuit many enjoy,” Baker said. “These are programs requested by veterans in our area and state advocacy groups. In these ways, and many more, we honor the duty they have done for us.”
Senate Bill 248 would create the Veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program within the Pennsylvania Financing Authority. The program would be funded with $5 million of existing dollars from another program run by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The bill defines a veteran-owned business as one in which 51% or more of the organization is owned or controlled by one or more veterans.
Recent U.S. Census Bureau data show the nearly 340,000 veteran-owned businesses account for almost 6% of all businesses in America. Those businesses employ nearly four million workers and generate more than $175 billion in annual payroll.
Senate Bill 447 would establish in law the PA VETConnect program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and helps the commonwealth’s more than 700,000 veterans access programs and services tailored to their needs. The database of resources enables local veteran advocates – including staff at county veterans affairs offices – to point veterans to information, resources, programs and services in their area and across the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 411 would make it possible for disabled veterans with a 100% disability determination to obtain a free, lifetime fishing license. They currently must apply for a new free fishing license every year. Free lifetime fishing licenses currently are available only to disabled veterans with a 100% permanent disability determination.
All three bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Jen Wilson