Friday, January 25, 2013

Easing the transition for our troops, veterans, and their families

​They put their civilian life on hold, standing ready if need be to put their very lives on the line.

So back here on the home front, military men and women have a right to fair and functional opportunities in transitioning to peacetime.
The very timely issue of “counting military training for college credit and professional-licensing requirements” was discussed in a meeting of the House Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee, chaired by state Rep. John McCoy, earlier this week. McCoy is sponsoring a measure in the 2013 legislative session to strengthen protections for the parental rights of deployed military dads and moms. He said that our state's "policies and procedures should provide assistance for military men and women in their transition to safe, high-quality civilian lives and careers."

House Democrats two years ago championed successful legislation to make sure that military training and experience counts toward licensing-requirements in a wide array of professions. The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs provides a great deal of employment assistance. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Defense and the commander in chief is also emphasizing employment-programs for veterans.

So far this year, a pair of other proposals to help support our servicemen and women are working their way through the legislative process. One bill would send financial help to veterans and active members of the military who are pursuing a higher education. A second bill would direct targeted colleges and universities to set up early-course registration for veterans and National Guard members. Both bills are in the House Higher Education Committee: HB 1011 is set for a vote in the 8 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 29, committee meeting, and HB 1109 is set for a vote in the 10 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 31, committee meeting.

Read this story in Spanish here.