New Laws Will Help Veterans Entering the Workforce

VeteransAmerica is the land of the free because we are the home of the brave. Let us never forget that we owe our liberty to the courageous men and women in uniform who put their country before themselves.

Unfortunately, when our veterans return home they often face real challenges transitioning into civilian life and into new careers.

I was proud to support common sense reforms to help our veterans find work here at home by removing unnecessary barriers to getting a job in Michigan.

Beginning in late August, honorably discharged veterans will be able to take advantage of new laws designed to assist them entering the workforce in certain professions.

Public Act 127 of 2014 requires the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to waive the license or initial registration fee for honorably discharged veterans in certain fields. The change applies to several occupations, such as barbers, public accountants, foresters, architects, community planners, funeral directors and residential builders.

PA 128 waives the same fees for honorably discharged veterans who apply for licensure as a private security guard or to become a member of a private security guard business.

These new laws are part of our continued effort to increase veterans assistance. They build on already enacted reforms from 2013 that recognized that military training is rigorous and tough and worthy of counting toward comparable jobs in the civilian workforce.

Those measures allow certain military training and experience of honorably discharged veterans to be counted for purposes of professional licensure as an emergency medical technician, firefighter, boiler operator and stationary engineer, mechanical contractor, and residential builder.

The enormous sacrifice and selfless dedication of our veterans and their families is a debt we can never fully repay. However, these reforms are a real, meaningful way to express our appreciation for the service of our veterans and to do something that is good for the entire state — our veterans, our local communities and our economy.

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Supporting America’s Veterans

Veterans Day 2013America is the example of liberty in the world because we remain the home of the brave. Let’s never forget that the willingness of young people to serve is largely reflective of how we treat those who already served.

Saluting our veterans is about showing our appreciation for their service and ensuring America always has patriots committed to her defense.

The Michigan Senate recently approved legislation supporting our honorably discharged veterans by allowing them to use certain military training and experience toward professional licensure as an EMT, firefighter, boiler operator and stationary engineer, mechanical contractor, and residential builder.

The bills build on previously enacted laws for licensing as a security guard, commercial driver and journeyman electrician or plumber.

The reforms recognize that military training is rigorous and worthy of counting toward comparable jobs in the civilian workforce.

We owe our freedoms to the men and women in uniform who put their nation before themselves. This is a common-sense way we can help them find work when they return home.

I am hopeful that the bills will be signed before Veterans Day, a time reserved for us to honor the enormous sacrifice and selfless dedication of our veterans. While the sacrifice made by them and their families is a debt we can never fully repay, these reforms are a real, meaningful way to express our gratitude.

I look forward to taking part in tributes throughout Southwest Michigan to thank our veterans for their commitment to liberty.

I also encourage area residents to take a moment this Veterans Day weekend to tell a veteran how much you appreciate their service.

State Senate Approves Bill to Help Veterans Get Job Certification

VeteransWKZO – Radio

The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to allow returning veterans to get credit for the skills and experience they acquired through military service for purposes of professional licenses in certain fields.

State Senator John Proos says that many veterans come home from military service with valuable experience, only to learn that their experience doesn’t count for anything when it comes to getting certified in order to work in certain jobs. He says this plan will help address that.

The package of bills approved would allow certain military training and experience of honorably discharged veterans to be counted for purposes of professional licensure as an emergency medical technician, firefighter, boiler operator and stationary engineer, mechanical contractor, and residential builder. Proos hopes to see Governor Rick Sndyer sign them before Veterans Day.

Priorities for 2013

Listen and LearnWe accomplished much in the past two years to re-energize Michigan, but more remains to be done.

My priorities for 2013 remain helping to create more Southwest Michigan jobs, increasing the public accountability in state government and improving education.

I remain focused on limiting the scope of government in our lives.

That means cutting unnecessary red-tape and costs; enhancing government efficiency; and eliminating fraud, waste and abuse of your tax dollars.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I continue to look for innovative ways to save money in state government. Two reforms I will be sponsoring in 2013 are measures to adopt a two-year budget and create a part-time Legislature. Lawmakers must plan ahead when budgeting, instead of using one-time gimmicks, and they should enter elected office as a public service – not for a paycheck.

Education is key to our future, so I am putting forth reform to help ensure every student has a good teacher by allowing military spouses who are certified teachers in other states and have been re-located to Michigan to teach here as long as they pursue Michigan certification.

I will also continue to push to allow students to study “career and technical education” as jobs in the trades are valuable and necessary in our communities.

I believe it’s important to listen to the people about the challenges we face and what we can do to meet them. That is why I encourage area residents to contact my office to express their opinion or request assistance with a state issue.

Residents may contact my office at senjproos@senate.michigan.gov or by calling 1-517-373-6960. Letters may be sent to: Senator John Proos; P.O. Box 30036; Lansing, MI 48909.

Program to Give 18,000 Christmas Trees to Military Families

Trees 4 Troops 2012It is the mission of Trees for Troops to give every family of America’s service men and women a wonderful Christmas morning that begins with gathering around an American- growth Christmas tree.

As a program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, Trees for Troops will deliver approximately 18,000 Christmas trees this year, with a majority of those going to military families at 62 bases from every branch of the armed services.

I recently assisted National Guard members and other volunteers at Wahmhoff Tree Farm in Gobles to help pack and ship Christmas trees.

Wahmhoff Farms every year contributes more than 100 trees to the Trees for Troops program, and this year’s trees are heading to families in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Since 2005, Trees for Troops has provided 103,186 Christmas trees to military families and troops, and the success of the program is rooted in the generosity of volunteers and supporters. Each year individuals and businesses, like Wahmhoff Farms and Fedex, who donate trees, coordinate shipping, or make contributions help bring holiday joy to thousands of deserving service men and women and their families.

If you were not able to make it out for Trees for Troops loading day, you can always support the program through a tax-deductible donation. For more information on the program, or to make donation, visit www.treesfortroops.org.

Visitors to the website can also view photos and video of the program and leave a message for the troops.

Honoring America’s Veterans for Protecting our Freedoms

VeteransAmerica is the beacon of liberty and
hope in the world because it remains
the home of the brave.

We enjoy our freedoms and way
of life today because courageous
men and women have risked – and
continue to risk – their lives to defend
our great nation.

One of my greatest honors as your
senator is taking part in tributes
throughout Southwest Michigan on
Veterans Day thanking our American
patriots for their outstanding service.

Veterans Day is celebrated on the
anniversary of the end of the First
World War as a time to honor the
enormous sacrifice and selfless
dedication of our veterans. The day
began as an outpouring of thanks that
marked the end of what was once
called the Great War – a fight for
freedom that was to end all wars.

Unfortunately, that war did not bring
an end to all wars. America faced a
Second World War and numerous
conflicts from Korea to Afghanistan.

Thankfully, America’s finest have
always answered the call to stand up
for freedom and liberty.

These patriots left their families to
ensure that we could live in the land
of the free. Some never returned.

Their great sacrifice is a debt we can
never fully repay.

In heartfelt appreciation for their
sacrifice on our behalf, I urge all
Southwest Michigan residents to take
time to thank our veterans for their
service.

As long as we have patriots who
are willing to risk all they have to
serve their country, we will be able
to live up to the words of President
Abraham Lincoln: “That this nation,
under God, shall have a new birth of
freedom – and that government of the
people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the Earth.”

God bless our veterans and their
families. Thank you.

9-11 Will Always Be a Day that Unites Us as Americans

Tuesday marks the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America.

While the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 will forever be etched in our minds, it will also forever be a day that unites us as Americans.

I encourage all Southwest Michigan families to join me as we remember those we lost at Ground Zero, at the Pentagon and in the fields of Pennsylvania. My thoughts and prayers go out to each of the families affected by this tragedy.

Celebrate the bravery of the men and women who became modern-day heroes due to their extraordinary courage that terrible day. Remember the selflessness of the passengers of United 93, who sacrificed themselves to prevent further tragedy. Honor the fearless first responders who ran into the towers to save lives – often at the cost of their own. Thank our courageous military members who continue to defend the freedom of all Americans.

America is a beacon of liberty for the rest of the world. While 9-11 illustrates that freedom isn’t free, it also reminds us that our great country and way of life are worth defending.

I believe that it is a testament to the greatness of America that when our liberty is attacked we come together and rise to meet that challenge.

As we unite in remembrance of 9-11, look forward with optimism that if we each do our part, our country and world will be a better place.

In honor of the lives lost Sept. 11, 2001, and to our firefighters, police officers and brave soldiers who protect our communities and nation every day, I commend you all for your courage, dedication and service and give you each my deepest heartfelt appreciation.