NEWS: House Passes Bill Allowing Private Employers in Alaska to Give a Hiring Preference to Veterans and Members of the National Guard

HB 2 is Supported by the Department of Defense and the National Federation of Independent Business-Alaska

March 24, 2017

Juneau – The Alaska House of Representatives today formally passed House Bill 2 to give private businesses in Alaska the ability to offer a hiring preferences for veterans of the armed services and members of the National Guard.  The Department of Defense has prioritized the passage of this legislation in all 50 states.

“Alaska has more veterans per capita than any other state in the nation and we have a long, proud tradition of supporting those who served our country,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), the sponsor of HB 2.  “Veterans and National Guard members make some of the best employees but without passage of authorizing legislation, private businesses in Alaska are prohibited from offering them a hiring preference.  One of the best ways for service members to transition from active duty to civilian life is through a job.  This bill is good for business and good for veterans.”

All 50 states currently offer a hiring preference of some kind to veterans for employment in the public sector but private employers are precluded from offering a similar preference under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 unless the state passes authorizing legislation.  HB 2 is the authorizing bill for the state of Alaska.

A 2012 survey found that two-thirds of veterans said the greatest challenge in transitioning to civilian life was finding a job.  Last year, the National Bureau of Labor Statistics released data indicating that the jobless rate among young male veterans far exceeded the unemployment rate of their civilian counterparts.

“I have met many very talented veterans in Alaska that have skills and talents that could be very useful to our businesses, both small and large,” said Rep. Justin Parish, who is a co-sponsor of HB 2.  “If it’s okay to offer veterans a hiring preference to work in government then businesses should have the same option.  By doing so, we help our businesses find great workers and we help veterans and our National Guard members find a way to transition into civilian life by using the skills they developed serving our country.”

Currently, 37 states have adopted legislation to give private employers the option of offering a veterans hiring preference. 

HB 2 passed the Alaska House of Representative Wednesday by a vote of 39-0.  Formal passage was delayed until today due to a reconsideration request.  HB 2 will now be sent to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.