The two measures that have reached the Legislature would update Nebraska's veterans' preference policy for state jobs and give disabled vets preference for state contracts.
Since 1969, state law has required government employers to give preference to veterans if they ask for it. It was created to help Vietnam veterans find employment. It also says veterans who pass an exam should receive an extra five percentage points to their score.
The only problem with the law is that many state agencies do not administer tests to job candidates, McIntosh said.
Sen. Dan Watermeier, of Syracuse, said he introduced the preference bill after McIntosh told him there was no clear way to know if veterans are given preference when they apply for a state government job. His measure would update the law to require government employers to hire a veteran when he or she is one of two or more equally qualified candidates and there's no test or point system in place.
Watermeier said it is possible state agencies are already following his proposed procedure, but he wants to make sure the state has an official policy.
"We are trying to make agencies and the public aware of veteran's preference," Watermeier said.
The measure would also require employers to let veterans know whether or not they got the job within 30 days. The spouse of a disabled veteran would also qualify for veterans' preference.
The other bill, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Janssen, would give preference to disabled Nebraska veterans who bid for public contracts.
Sen. Pete Pirsch says Janssen's bill is his priority, and believes the state should help out injured veterans to make sure they lead productive lives.
"I prioritized this bill because soldiers are willing to put their personal safety in jeopardy," Pirsch said. "It seems this is the least we could do to recognize that."
No date has been set to debate either bill. Watermeier said he's asked for his bill to be put on the consent calendar agenda to move it through more quickly. Consent calendar bills can be debated for 15 minutes or less.
The bills are LB588 and LB224.