Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Governor Beshear signs legislation to benefit Kentucky Veterans

Press Release Date:  Thursday, February 18, 2010  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Jill Midkiff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Governor Steve Beshear today visited the VFW Post 4075 in Frankfort to sign into law House Bills 14 and 75, two pieces of legislation that will benefit Kentucky veterans.

“Kentuckians are in far-flung places of the world, facing danger and keeping safe those who dream of freedom and peace,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentucky’s military men and women have an unparalleled reputation for courage and commitment. We can never fully repay such service. But we can make decisions to show in tangible ways our gratitude.”

HB 14, sponsored by Rep. Charles Siler, of Williamsburg, allows for permanently and totally disabled veterans who are citizens of Kentucky to stay at Kentucky state parks for up to three nights per year at no cost, subject to space availability.

“Kentucky has top-notch parks built around some of the most beautiful landscapes in the nation,” said Gov. Beshear. “This small gesture makes that beauty available to those who have given so much to this state.”

“When the state uses our troops, they should take care of them,” Rep. Siler said. “It is the right thing to do.”

“We must always strive to honor those brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to our Commonwealth and our country,” said Sen. Elizabeth Tori, of Radcliff.  “This legislation is but a small token of our appreciation.”

HB75, sponsored by Rep. Mike Cherry, of Princeton, amends current state government personnel statutes to provide a preference to veterans and codifies the language in an existing emergency regulation issued by Gov. Beshear. 

“This legislation is a recognition of their sacrifice, but it also benefits taxpayers,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are all better off for having more veterans in state government.”

“Every so often in a legislative career a bill comes along of particularly personal interest as well as importance.  HB 75 is such a bill for me,” said Rep. Cherry. “As a 27-year active duty veteran, I understand that sometimes in the employment market, a military person’s service time can be overlooked.  This bill makes sure that doesn’t happen in Kentucky state hiring.  It ensures that state government employees are aware of an applicant’s military service and that the applicant is given the opportunity to sell his or her skills through the interview process.  This is another way of saying thank you for what you do or did for our service men and women.”

“One of the best things we can do for our veterans is to offer them the opportunity to work,” said. Rep. Tanya Pullin, of South Shore. “Taxpayers will benefit from the additional military training, organizational skills and experience our veterans have to offer.”

Without passage of this law, Kentucky would be one of only two states that do not have some form of active veterans’ preference. 

The two bills were unanimously passed by both chamber of the General Assembly before being delivered this week for the Governor’s signature.