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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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.