July 12, 2013
By Charles Zuckerman
Service members encounter many challenges when they return home from the battlefield. Some may have a hard time adjusting to civilian life while others may have to overcome the physical and mental wounds of war. Other veterans may also encounter discrimination when looking for housing or employment, and a new bill making its way through Congress would help prevent such unscrupulous actions, Military Times reports.
The proposed law, known as the Veterans and Service? members Employment Rights and Housing Act of 2013, comes as some congressmen continued to hear complaints about being denied jobs and housing due to their military service. The bill's chief sponsor is Rep. Derek Kilmer from Washington, who is looking to fill some gaps in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which is already law. Specifically, it would make service members and vets a protected class under discrimination laws. Senator Richard Blumenthal, the sponsor of the Senate bill, said the move will be an important step forward.
"By making military service a protected status, this bill will ensure that those who sacrificed to keep us safe are not discriminated against when they return home," he said. "Shamefully, veterans who served our country return from deployment and too often struggle to find a job or a place to call home."
As the bill progresses through Congress, legislatures around the country are making an effort to help preserve the financial future of veterans. One such effort took place in Florida, where Governor Rick Scott recently signed a bill meant to protect the Sunshine State's veterans from fraud. Specifically, the bill creates more drastic penalties for those convicted in fraud cases against members of the military community.