NASHVILLE – Democratic legislative leaders applauded an amendment to a bill by Governor Bill Haslam to reinstate support of Tennessee veterans under revamped state hiring practices.
“Thanks to the work of legislative Democrats and the Governor’s cooperative spirit, our veterans will continue to receive the support that they deserve,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “Our veterans put their lives on the line to protect us. The least we can do is support them when they return home.”
The amendment passed Tuesday in the Senate State and Local Committee would require that, with all other aspects being equal, a veteran’s service be the deciding hiring factor when interviewing for open civil service positions. The amendment also ensures that veterans will continue to receive five years’ worth of work experience credit for their military service when layoffs are considered.
Veterans are also to receive written notice should they not be chosen for an open position.
Democrats raised questions after the administration’s original proposal removed existing support for veterans in hiring for nearly 35,000 state positions. The amendment passed Tuesday uses language drafted by Turner and other Democrats.
“We are pleased that the Governor has been willing to accept good ideas, regardless of which party brings them,” Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney said. “We are hopeful that this attitude will continue throughout the legislative session, among lawmakers and the Governor alike.”
The committee passed the bill, SB2246/HB2384, which will go to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee. The House version of the bill is being discussed Tuesday afternoon.