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Gov. Ron DeSantis signs 3 bills into law to ensure Florida is the ‘most’ military-friendly in US

Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to the crowd. (Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union/TNS)

Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted a press conference Friday in Ponte Vedra Beach to sign three bills into law that are designed primarily to support active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families.

The press conference took place at American Legion Palm Valley with DeSantis’s wife and two children in attendance. Several Republican legislators, including Sen. Tom Wright, offered remarks before DeSantis signed the bills.

HB429 will establish a Purple Star Campus program under the Florida Department of Education that recognizes schools that offer the children of military personnel extra transition help. The Purple Star-designated schools will have a liaison and a website that supports military families; a student-led transition program to help military students, expanded professional development opportunities for staff and reserved seats for children of military personnel, no matter the time of year that the transfer takes place.

HB435 jumpstarts the Skill Bridge program, which allows service members to gain workforce training with civilian employers during their last 180 days of active duty.

“What we’ll do with this bill is break new ground by becoming the first state in the nation to codify in law statewide Skill Bridge initiative that matches servicemembers separating or retiring from Florida’s 21 military installations and from those across the country with Florida’s boundless career opportunities,” DeSantis said. “We’re already hearing this bill will likely become a model for other states to use.”

The final bill DeSantis signed on Friday, SB22, makes it easier for state and political entities to hire veterans. The bill authorizes state and political entities to waive certain post-secondary educational requirements for employment for eligible service members and veterans. It also requires Florida governmental agencies to develop and implement a veterans recruitment plan.

“Enhanced veterans preference opportunities expands our ability to attract and retain top talent as another way to ensure Florida remains the most military and veterans friendly state in the nation,” DeSantis said.


(c) 2021 The Florida Times-Union

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