When Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, was moving from military duty to civilian life, he saw a slide show that listed veterans benefits in all 50 states.
The list for Idaho stood out.
There was nothing there, Hagedorn said. There were no benefits listed for Idaho.
That was 1994. Since then, the civilian landscape for veterans has gotten better, Hagedorn said. But theres still a lot to be done.
Hagedorn, who served in the Navy for 20 years, is one of a handful of sponsors on veterans-focused bills this session. The idea, Hagedorn said, is to reward veterans for their service and attract experienced workers to the state.
Numbers on veteran unemployment vary, but according to a Feb. 1 article by Stars and Stripes, the veteran unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January.
Thats something Gov. Butch Otter wants to change. Last week, his communications director, Mark Warbis, presented a bill to the House Revenue and Taxation Committee that would, among other things, give a $1,000 tax credit to employers who add a new position on the payroll and fill that position with a veteran.
The legislation was the governors idea, Warbis said.
I think that the governor has been keenly aware of the problem and the concerns of veterans getting employment, which is why he talked about it in the State of the State, said Jon Hanian, Otters press secretary. He called it a national disgrace."
Its not the only veteran employment bill the Legislature will consider this session. Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, introduced a measure last week to allow state agencies to skip the competitive hiring process if a qualified disabled veteran applies.
He has another bill ready to go that would expedite the occupational license application process for active duty military or their spouses.