Legislation Assemblyman Timothy Eustace sponsored to extend eligibility for civil service preference to more military veterans in New Jersey has been introduced in the Assembly.
The bill (A-3884) would require the state to give preference in hiring for state, county and municipal jobs to any individual who meets the federal definition of an eligible veteran, even if he or she does not meet the state definition, provided the individual receives a passing score on an open competitive examination.
Current New Jersey law requires veterans seeking preference in public employment to have served for at least 14 days in a combat theater during a time of war. Eustace noted that this requirement disadvantages veterans who were not selected to serve in combat roles during their time in the military.
“Both the service members who go overseas and fight and the service members who do not engage in combat obey orders. They do what they’re asked to do,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “A veteran who was never asked to take on a combat role should not be at a disadvantage during the hiring process. This legislation honors our nation’s veterans by giving them the civil service preference they deserve.”
The legislation would make any veteran who meets requirements for preference at the federal level eligible for preference at the state level, regardless of whether he or she engaged in combat. To be eligible for veterans preference in the federal civil service, an individual must have an honorable or general discharge and have served:
– During the period Dec. 7, 1941 to July 1, 1955; or
– For more than 180 consecutive days, any part of which occurred after Jan. 31, 1955 and before Oct. 15, 1976; or
– During the Gulf War from Aug. 2, 1990 through Jan. 2, 1992; or
– In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized, including El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, Lebanon, Panama, Somalia, Southwest Asia, Bosnia and the Global War on Terror.
“Far too many veterans have trouble transitioning back into civilian life, and we have a collective duty to try to make that process smoother,” said Eustace. “Making it easier for veterans to find jobs in New Jersey will go a long way toward allowing them to use the skill sets and work ethic they already possess in order to both serve our state and support their families.”
Voters must approve a constitutional amendment implementing the legislation via ballot measure in order for the provisions of the bill to apply.