Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), John Carney (D-DE) introduced the Military CDL Act of 2012. The bipartisan legislation gives active duty military personnel, military reserves, members of the National Guard, active duty United States Coast Guard, and Coast Guard Auxiliary members more flexibility in obtaining a Commercial Driver's License, allowing them to pursue job opportunities immediately after leaving the service.
"Our service members give everything to keep America safe, including frequent deployments and station assignments all over the country and far away from their permanent homes," said Congressman Quigley. "By removing the unnecessary barriers that prevent these hardworking men and women from obtaining a commercial driver's license, this legislation allows America to give something back by providing them with a valuable skill to advance their civilian employment opportunities when their military service ends."
Under current federal law, states are only permitted to issue CDLs to those who are legal residents of that state. Since military personnel often receive their vehicle training in locations other than their home states, such as their duty stations, the law makes it difficult for members of the armed forces to obtain a CDL before leaving military service. Both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense have identified this law as a barrier to employment for veterans.
The Military CDL Act allows active duty military personnel to obtain a CDL in either the state where they serve or where they received their military training, regardless of whether it is their state of permanent residence. The bill also gives the Department of Defense the opportunity to reach agreements with the states where it conducts motor vehicle training to issue CDLs to active duty military personnel and opens the door to allowing veterans to use interstate agreements to recognize each other's CDLs to carry their license to other locations after military service.
The Military CDL Act is endorsed by the American Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator and Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate, (name of Senate bill).
"With so many of our men and women in the armed forces receiving CDL training, it makes sense to allow them to pursue the proper license," said Congressman Bucshon. "Not only will it help our military forces have more CDL licensed drivers, but it will also help our veterans find work after their military service. Currently, many veterans are unable to use the skills they learned in the military and apply them to the civilian workforce. I am pleased to have been able to work with my colleagues in the House and with the U.S. Senate on this commonsense, bipartisan bill that will help our military service men and women."
"The men and women who serve in our armed forces develop skills and knowledge that make them very valuable employees," said Congressman Carney. "The Military CDL Act makes it easier for these veterans to put their training to use immediately upon leaving the service. This bill strengthens the economy by helping more trained, quality employees enter the workforce, and gives veterans a firm foundation to begin the next phase of their careers."
Rep. Quigley has been committed to good government reform in his two terms in Congress. He sits on the Committee on Oversight and Government reform and has authored legislation to protect service members and veterans from being targeted by deceptive for-profit colleges. He founded the bipartisan Transparency Caucus and has released Reinventing Government: The Federal Budget Parts I and II, which establishes transparency in the budget process and offers 60 recommendations to save $2 trillion over the next 10 years.