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Minn. Legislature Passes Veteran Job Preference

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Legislature has sent Gov. Mark Dayton a bill that would allow employers to set a hiring preference for veterans and some of their spouses.

The House approved the measure Monday after the Senate passed it last month. Both votes were unanimous.

The bill allows private employers to express a hiring preference for all veterans, and spouses of veterans who have died or have a service-related disability.

House bill sponsor and veteran Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, said that veterans are experiencing an “astronomical unemployment rate” and “we need to give them every tool possible to get them a job.”

Lawmakers have considered a handful of bills this session to boost jobs for veterans, including tax credits for businesses that hire veterans and contracts for veteran-owned businesses.

About 2,700 troops are expected to return to the state over the next few weeks, according to the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs. The Minnesota National Guard said a survey shows that about 20 percent of them will be looking for jobs when they come home.

Kriesel said he expects Dayton to sign the bill, though the governor has not yet indicated his position.

Dayton spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci said he is “very interested in every opportunity for our veterans to find meaningful employment.”

She noted that the governor proposed his own tax credit for employers hiring veterans and others who were previously unemployed.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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