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Representative Ragan Fights To Increase Employment Opportunities For Veterans And Their Families

(NASHVILLE) — Thursday, lawmakers unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) aimed at increasing private employment opportunities for military veterans and their families.

House Bill 165 encourages private employers to hire honorably discharged veterans, spouses of a veteran with a service-connected disability, unmarried widows or widowers of veterans who died of service-connected disability, and unmarried widows or widowers of a member of the military who died in the line of duty.

Private employers that adopt a veteran’s preference must have their policy in writing and may require a potential employee to submit a certificate of release or discharge from active duty as proof of their eligibility for the preference. The veteran’s preference must be applied consistently to all employment decisions made by a company regarding hiring and promotion.

“It’s important for us to remember that our military servicemen and women make sacrifices daily in order to protect and defend our freedom,” said Representative Ragan. “We must work with private businesses to increase employment opportunities for our veterans and their families so they can achieve their professional goals and dreams.”

House Bill 165 is the latest in a series of legislation that demonstrates support for and honors Tennessee military veterans and their families. In 2016, five soldiers killed in the Chattanooga terrorist attack were awarded the “Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal” by Governor Bill Haslam for their heroic efforts on Tennessee soil.

Recently, lawmakers also passed the National Guard Force Protection Act, which enhances protection at Tennessee National Guard facilities and military installations. Additionally, legislation passed the full House that strengthened and made the Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) program available to private, non-profit institutions of higher education throughout the state. The highly successful VETS program encourages colleges and universities to prioritize outreach to veterans and successfully deliver the services necessary to create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.

The full text of House Bill 165 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at:

John Ragan is Vice-Chair of the House Government Operations Committee and Joint Government Operations Education, Health & General Welfare Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Health Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the Joint Government Operations Committee. Ragan lives in Oak Ridge and represents District 33, which includes part of Anderson County. He can be reached at [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-4400.



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