The American Legion has scored two more crucial legislative victories in veterans credentialing - this time in Maryland and Georgia, where new measures stand to make it easier for veterans to gain professional certification.
In Maryland, Legion representatives successfully lobbied for the passage of the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013, which allows military training, education and experience to help veterans qualify for occupational and professional licenses. Additionally, the measure requires public colleges and universities to develop policies to award academic credit for relevant military training and education. It also creates an expedited licensing procedure for veterans and military spouses who hold professional licenses in other states.
Representatives from the Legion's Department of Maryland lobbied for the bill's introduction into the state senate in January and for its eventual passage in both chambers.
In Maryland we have a Legislative Call List," said Gail Murdock, Legislative chairman of the Department of Maryland. "We have a Legion member assigned to call each of the 47 senators and 141 delegates. Once I get the word of a hearing coming up we activate the calling list, and I also request that Legion members show up to support my testimony.
"We work everything on the Legislative front as a team. The Maryland Legion team's work paid off big dividends during the current legislative session."
In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law yesterday House Bill 188, the Veterans Licensure Bill, which creates a special committee that is charged with giving special consideration to veterans' licensing applications on an ad-hoc basis.
Per the new law, which takes effect in July, a committee will be created to determine whether waivers should be provided to veterans based on their military skills, training and testing. This process will include applications for licenses in electronic contracting, plumbing, air conditioning certification, residential-light contracting and utility foremanship. The committee can also grant certification to military spouses who hold licenses in these five areas in different states.
"Service members and veterans have acquired skills that they can transfer from one job to another and specific skills that are unique to a particular job," said American Legion Economic Division Director Joe Sharpe. "In the face of increased international competition and the more widespread use of computers in production processes, the implementation of more formal and sophisticated kinds of on-the-job training has become a critical issue for firms in the United States. The American Legion has led this initiative in collaboration with Department of Defense, because it is important to our nation and future workforce."
The Maryland and Georgia laws come on the heels of successful credentialing legislation that was passed in Indiana. Last week, Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill that makes military training in emergency medicine "substantially equivalent" to civilian certification in the related fields of paramedic or emergency medical technician training.
Throughout all states in the nation, the Legion remains dedicated to duplicating the victories it has scored in veterans credentialing on the federal level and in many states.