A measure to assist veterans in their job search as they prepare to transition to civilian life was signed into law today. House Bill 1537, sponsored by 28th District State Rep. Steve O’Ban, was an idea brought to him by a former constituent, who is also a military veteran. It is the first piece of legislation authored by the freshman lawmaker to be signed into law.
The new law will move up the timeframe service members can apply for and be considered for civilian jobs and receive the preferential benefit before their service ends. This change will allow service men and women to apply for a job in the private sector prior to their separation from the military and will potentially eliminate months of unemployment for our service members. Prior to this law change, service members were required to be fully separated from the military before receiving the preferential hiring benefit.
“We will have thousands of service men and women moving back into the private-sector job market in the next few years due to scaled-back military engagements overseas and elsewhere. The change in law this bill creates is one way to help military personnel begin the transition to civilian life by allowing them to apply for jobs prior to leaving their branch of armed service. I am grateful this much-needed change in policy was brought to my attention,” said O’Ban, R-Pierce County and father to two sons serving in the United States Army, including one who will graduate from the United State Military Academy at West Point in June.
The legislation was co-authored by Rep. Jan Angel of Gig Harbor.
“It was great having an experienced representative like Jan help me work the bill through the legislative process so we could pass it and get this good policy in place this year,” O’Ban said. “It’s about doing what is right when you have the chance, and I’m glad we were able to do this small law change as a way of thanking and honoring those who bravely and selflessly serve our country.”