A bill that would accelerate public employment preferences for veterans returning home from war or armed conflict received a public hearing Wednesday in the House Government Operations and Elections Committee.
Under current law, veterans who have served during a period of war or armed conflict may claim a preference in public employment upon separation from the military. House Bill 1537, co-sponsored by Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, would allow veterans to claim the preference upon receipt of separation orders.
It's also sponsored by 28th District Rep. Steve O'Ban of University Place.
The change in state law is important, said Keith C. Cianco, a retired U.S. Army Sergeant First Class and a Bremerton resident. Cianco told the committee that even though he had received his separation orders from the military, he was not allowed to claim the preference percentage points on his civil service examination scores when applying in 2009 for employment with law enforcement because the separation had not been formalized.
“As such, I was noncompetitive. Those ahead of me on the list had the ten points granted to wartime veterans because we had been at war for over ten years. Even such, those with five points for only having completed a single enlistment and never having left the country also were ahead of me on the list,” said Cianco. “The civil service examination is your foot in the door. That’s the first hurdle you have to pass over to be able to get through the rest of the hiring process.”
Angel said the bill would help veterans who have struggled to secure jobs after returning home from active duty.
“Unfortunately, our economic situation here at home has not been that good. Thousands of people are out of work and others have given up finding jobs because of this difficult economy. This is the reality that our veterans face as well,” said Angel. “House Bill 1537 is an important step to show our returning troops we appreciate their service.”
The measure would also provide a 10-percentage point boost on civil service examinations for anyone who has served during a period of war or armed conflict. The bill now awaits committee action.
For more information, visit our Web site at: www.houserepublicans.wa.gov.
-Washington State Republican