Earlier this month, we celebrated Veterans Day. Each year on November 11 is set aside the time to honor those who have heeded the call to serve, and with it, the need to make sacrifices for our country. One day is really a pittance when it comes to thanking our brave veterans, but year-round, the Ohio House considers legislation that addresses the needs of our service people, from naming portions of highways in recognition of those who have given their lives to enacting policies that make the transition back into civilian life a little easier.

Already signed and sanctioned, the legislature earlier this year passed House Bill 173, which authorizes the creation of standardized identification cards for veterans. In fact, the ID cards were made available in September and are available for application at your county recorder's office or your county veterans service office. These cards can be used in place of DD214 forms—bulky documents that contain sensitive material—to verify a veteran’s status. This makes it easier for our veterans to prove eligibility for such purposes as employment applications and health benefits.

In 2015, we also passed a bill that creates “Armed Services, Peace Officer, First Responder, and Dual Service Recognition Day.” This day is acknowledged on November 10 each year, and we just celebrated it for the first time. Championed by House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, a veteran himself, the day recognizes a special section of our veteran population, those who have dually served as a member of the armed forces and as a police officer, firefighter, or first responder. To take on such a life of service merits the utmost respect and commemoration.

This month, the Ohio House approved House Bill 535, another veteran-sponsored bill, which requires employers in Ohio to hold the employment position of any out-of-state National Guard member who is called to serve in the state in which they are enlisted. Ohio law already has these employer requirements for those enlisted in the Ohio National Guard, but those who work in Ohio and are a part of another state’s National Guard are not afforded the same job guarantee. This bill would make that change, giving our National Guard members more job security. I was proud to support this legislation and am hopeful the Ohio Senate will also give it its stamp of approval.

The state of Ohio values and strives to take care of our veterans, and that is reflected in the legislation we designed and passed at the Statehouse in recent months. Those who have served in our military have protected our God-given freedoms, and it is only suitable that we give back, making their civilian life easier and less stressful.

I was honored to speak at a veterans’ ceremony held at Union Local High School on the day after the election. Like many in the audience, I was a bit bleary-eyed after a long night. But it was a privilege for me to pay tribute to those who have so nobly served the cause of freedom. Many veterans were in attendance, and the students in the gym were appropriately respectful. I hope you will join me in thanking our veterans for the gift of their sacrifice for our great country—on Veterans Day and every day.

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