Legislature Expands Hiring Preference for Veterans and National Guard Members
Expanded Private Sector Hiring Preference is a Priority of the U.S. Department of Defense
Juneau – Today, the Alaska Legislature passed legislation to expand job opportunities for veterans and members of the National Guard. House Bill 2, sponsored by Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), is supported by the United States Department of Defense and the National Federation of Independent Businesses-Alaska. The bill gives private businesses in Alaska the ability to offer a hiring preference to veterans of the armed services and members of the National Guard.
“Military veterans and National Guard members are some of the best employees you will ever come across. The skills and training developed through their military experience easily transfers into business and industry. It just seems logical to give them a hiring preference. It’s allowed for state government, but until now private businesses could not prioritize hiring these brave men and women. This bill is good for business, and it’s good for veterans,” said Rep. Tuck. “Today’s vote is another example of the support we show to our veterans and National Guard members, and I want to thank my colleagues for making this bill a priority before the end of the session.”
Veterans and National Guard members in Alaska and every other state are offered a hiring preference 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 legislation for the State of Alaska. Today’s passage of HB 2 makes Alaska the 38th state to adopt legislation to give private employers the option of offering a veteran hiring preference.
A 2012 survey found that two-thirds of veterans reported that the greatest challenge in transitioning to civilian life was finding a job. In 2016, the National Bureau of Labor Statistics released data indicating that the jobless rate among young male veterans exceeded the unemployment rate of their civilian counterparts. The U.S. military discharges 160,000 active duty service members and 110,000 reserve and National Guard members every year. The Defense Manpower Data Center reports that in 2015 over 2,000 military personnel returned to Alaska upon separation. Alaska is currently home to the highest number of veterans per capita in the nation.
House Bill 2 passed the Alaska House of Representatives by a unanimous vote of 39-0 in March of last year. Today, the Alaska State Senate passed the bill by a unanimous vote of 19-0. House Bill 2 will now be sent to Alaska Governor Bill Walker for his signature.
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.