Bill aids expanded opportunities for vets in private industry

House Bill 2 was signed into law on July 29, making Alaska the 38th state to adopt legislation giving private employers the option of offering a veteran hiring preference.

Gov. Bill Walker signed the bill in a ceremony at the VFW Golden Heart Post 3629 in Fairbanks.

Every state already offers a hiring preference to veterans and National Guard members for employment in the public sector, but private employers are precluded from offering a similar preference under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 unless the state passes authorizing legislation.

HB 2 passed the Alaska House of Representatives last year by a unanimous vote of 39-0.

On May 12, the last day of the second session of the 30th Legislature, the Senate also voted unanimously to approve.

Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, who sponsored the bill at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, said he was surprised there was not already such a hiring preference on the books.