Senator Janet Nguyen's Bill to Help Military Servicemembers Becomes Law

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Governor’s Military Council, Senator Janet Nguyen is proud to announce that Governor Brown has signed her Senate Bill 410 (SB 410) into law. SB 410 will assist newly discharged Veterans in accessing state employment by accelerating the Veterans’ Preference application process. Specifically, SB 410 would allow Servicemembers preparing to separate from the military to begin applying earlier for the Veterans’ Preference in state hiring by submitting a letter from their commanding officers to verify their military service. SB 410 will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

“Our Veterans have made great sacrifices to defend our nation and it is important that we honor their service by helping them transition back into civilian life. Finding employment is one of the most essential aspects of this transition,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “In my ongoing interaction with Veterans, I often hear about the struggles they face in finding employment. SB 410 helps remove a barrier that currently keeps active Servicemembers from applying for state jobs.” 

Under current law, California assists qualified Veterans in securing state jobs by obtaining a Veterans’ Preference that places them in the top rank of state job examinations.  However, in order to obtain the Veterans’ Preference, a Veteran must supply a Department of Defense form, DD-214, which is provided only after the Veteran separates from the military and can take months to receive. This results in an additional delay that often impacts a Veterans’ ability to find and secure employment immediately upon separation.

By accelerating the Veterans’ Preference application process for those interested in state employment, SB 410 seeks to help address the high unemployment rate among California Veterans. In California, the unemployment rate for Veterans stands at 5.7%, which is higher than the national Veteran unemployment rate of 4.3%. One of the reasons attributed for this high unemployment rate is the time it takes for Veterans to search for and to find a job.

SB 410 was part of a Veterans Package announced by Senator Nguyen in April 2017 and which also included SB 409 and SB 411. This Veterans Package sought to assist Veterans with complex mental health and behavioral needs, accelerate the path to work for Veterans transitioning into civilian life and reward State Military Reservists and Naval Militia for their extended service.

During its consideration in the State Legislature, SB 410 received unanimous bipartisan support from both chambers and is co-authored by Senators Bates, Fuller, Berryhill and Assemblymembers Baker, Chavez, C. Garcia, Mathis, and Voepel.

The American G.I. Forum of California, American Legion-Department of California, AMVETS- Department of California, California Association of County Veterans Service Officers, California State Commanders Veterans Council, the Military Officers Association of America-California Council of Chapters, and the Vietnam Veterans of America- California State Council all support SB 410.