Governor Bobby Jindal announced legislation today that will support military families and veterans. Governor Jindal is proposing legislation to establish procedures for military families that credit specialized training received in the military into equivalent non-military licenses and certifications and to speed up the transfer of professional licenses and certifications from other states when they are relocated by the military to Louisiana. The Governor also announced support for legislation to grant in-state tuition to veterans at Louisiana colleges and universities.
Governor Jindal said, "We are indebted to the brave men and women of the Armed Forces and their families, who have greatly sacrificed for our country. As soldiers and their families transition from the military to civilian live or simply from state to state, we must do everything in our power to make sure the process is quick and free of bureaucracy. This legislation will cut through red tape for military families as they move to our state and also provide support for veterans to transition into civilian life."
"As a combat wounded Vietnam Veteran, I am proud to live in a state that supports its Veterans in so many ways," says Lane Carson, Secretary of Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. "This legislation, supported by Governor Jindal, clearly demonstrates Louisiana's continued commitment to our heroes and their families."
Today, transferring professional licenses from other states or from military specializations into non-military licenses and certifications is slow and cumbersome for veterans. There are no uniform standards that allow members of the U.S. Armed Forces to translate professional skills they acquire in the military into professionally certified civilian positions. This new legislation will ensure that all Louisiana boards and commissions establish temporary and permanent procedures that credit service members with the skills they learned in the military when they exit military service, making it easier for them to establish themselves in civilian careers.
The legislation seeks to provide for a temporary license to ensure service member families can enter the Louisiana workforce immediately upon duty relocation. The legislation also supports military personnel and their spouses who hold professional certifications and licenses when they are relocated to Louisiana by establishing reciprocity with other states, making it easier for them to secure employment in their field of expertise.
Senator Adley said, "When veterans leave the armed services, they bring their skills and leadership to our nation's businesses and communities. As leaders, we should do all we can to attract veterans to come live and work in Louisiana. To accomplish that goal, I'm proud to join the Governor in proposing a bill that will provide veterans the opportunity to receive credit for professional skills obtained in the military and streamline licensure for their spouses to start working in Louisiana faster. The more good we do by our veterans, the better off we all are."
Governor Jindal is supporting HB 137 by Representative Chris Broadwater, which grants in-state tuition to honorably discharged veterans, members of the National Guard, reserve enlistees previously called into service, or former cadets or midshipmen at one of the United States Armed Forces service academies.
Representative Broadwater said, "The U.S. Armed Forces have some of the highest quality workforce development programs in the world, training military personnel in the latest technology and highly technical fields. Louisiana should be tapping into this resource as a new workforce development pipeline for Louisiana businesses. I can't think of a better proposal than one that attracts veterans to come to Louisiana schools to pursue a degree at one of our higher education institutions; once they graduate, even further credentialed, they'll have great opportunities to start a career right here in our state. I'm proud to have partnered with the Governor on this proposal."
Governor Jindal previously announced two other initiatives he is pursuing in the upcoming session to support veterans, including legislation to allow an official "Veteran" designation on the driver's license for Louisiana veterans and legislation to make sure students who delay their TOPS award to serve in the military do no lose their eligibility for voluntarily reenlisting.
Governor Jindal has taken a number of steps to support Veterans and their families since taking office such as:
* In 2008, Governor Jindal signed an Executive Order that made Louisiana the third state to participate in the United States Army Partnership for Youth Success Program that encourages employers, like the state of Louisiana, to recruit former Army active and reserve members;
* Governor Jindal redirected the Louisiana Military Family Assistance Fund to the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Since that time, LDVA has awarded more than $350,000 in financial assistance to more than 2,500 Louisiana National Guardsmen and Reservists.
* Governor Jindal created the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal, and since 2009, more than 30,000 medals have been awarded to Louisiana veterans.
* Governor Jindal signed legislation to ensure veterans get the care they deserve by expanding the eligibility requirements of the Louisiana War Veterans Homes to allow the state to serve a greater number of Louisiana veterans. Over 80,000 peacetime Louisiana veterans and their spouses are now eligible for service at the War Veterans Homes.
* The Jindal Administration created LAVETBIZ, a program to assist Louisiana veterans who own their own business.
* Over the past few years, Veterans Affairs has increased federal compensation and pension payments to Louisiana veterans by $36 million in the last fiscal year. This provides additional benefits to more than 304,000 Louisiana veterans.
* Since 2008, the Jindal Administration has increased the presence of service offices with locations now open in every parish across the state. These parish offices provide veterans with local access to trained Veterans Assistance Counselors who help veterans and their families secure the benefits they earned through their military service. Louisiana now ranks 13th in the nation in benefits and compensation payments to veterans on a per capita basis.