There shall be a special commission to study and make recommendations to create a state office of veterans business assistance. The commission shall consist of 13 members: 3 of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house; 2 of whom shall be appointed by the house minority leader; 3 of whom shall be appointed by the senate president; 2 of whom shall be appointed by the senate minority leader; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the secretary of labor and workforce development; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the secretary of veterans services; and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the governor. The speaker of the house and the senate president shall determine which 2 members of the commission shall serve as co-chairpersons.
The commission shall identify opportunities to help promote the development of business enterprises and non-profit organizations owned and operated by veterans and make such other recommendations as the commission deems appropriate, with the goal of expanding business and non-profit opportunities for veterans. The commission shall consider barriers facing veterans seeking to start business or nonprofits, better access to capital and financing, ways in which veterans can be given certification similar to that of the state office of minority and women business assistance, and relationships that can be formed with state agencies and financial institutions with veterans. The commission shall also seek to identify opportunities to maximize revenues, such as federal grants and matching funds.
The commission may hold hearings and invite testimony from experts and the public. The commission shall review and identify best practices learned from similar efforts in other states.
Members of the commission shall be named and the commission shall commence its work within 60 days of the effective date of this act. The commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives on or before January 15, 2014. The clerks of the house and senate shall make the report available to the public through the internet.
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