Focus: Jobs for veterans

(Marion) Chronicle-Tribune

The 2015 session of the General Assembly included passage of some common sense legislation, including the beginning of a process to add a balanced budget amendment to the Indiana Constitution and, as Gov. Mike Pence said, “require future state governments to spend wisely, live within their means, and protect our children and grandchildren from facing mountains of debt.”

How sweet it would be to make that happen at all levels of government from the federal to the most local.

Other meaningful legislation from the session includes Senate Bill 298. The bill awaiting Pence’s signature, would allow certain employers to adopt a veteran hiring policy.

SB 298 was unanimously adopted by the State House and Senate and would allow private-sector employers to adopt a preference policy for hiring, promoting or retaining veterans in employment. Under the bill, “veteran” is defined as a person who actively served in the U.S. military, the Indiana Army National Guard or Air National Guard.

The bill is aimed at reducing Indiana’s veteran unemployment rate by helping Hoosier vets find jobs. That rate is about 16 percent, compared to the national rate of about 9 percent.

We would not ask employers to hire a job candidate only because they have served. But we think it entirely appropriate to consider the character and attitude of service many veterans bring with them to their employment.

In his State of the Union speech in January, President Barack Obama said, “If you want someone who’s going to get the job done, and done right, hire a veteran.” On this point we agree with the president.

A job after service, especially in combat, can do wonders for a veteran’s soul and for an employer organization.

The 2015 session had its ups and downs. but in many respects our legislators nailed it.