On Tuesday, March 21, SHRM/CalSHRM sponsored AB 353 (Voepel) passed out of the California Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs by a unanimous, bi-partisan vote of 10-0. AB 353 would allow private California employers to establish a voluntary preference in the hiring of veterans. Julie Worley, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, PHRca, and immediate past president of the Sacramento Area Human Resource Association (SAHRA), testified in support of the measure before the committee. Advocacy is a major component of SHRM’s strategic initiative in California and SHRM Government Affairs staff Jason Gabhart has been working closely with the CalSHRM State Council in advancing our legislative objectives in the state.
Employers in California currently may exercise a veterans’ hiring preference, but it is currently limited to Vietnam-era veterans and only immunizes them from gender discrimination claims. This bill, known as the Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy Act, would establish a voluntary hiring or retention preference for employers to grant veterans regardless of when they served our country. Thirty-seven other states across the country have enacted similar laws. The unanimous support of both Republicans and Democrats that the bill received is a big victory for SHRM, considering that most pieces of legislation in California are decided on a party line vote. The bill now moves to the Assembly Committee on Labor & Employment and will be heard next month, possibly in time for CalSHRM’s California State Legislative & HR Conference scheduled from April 19 – 21.
During the conference, an estimated 200 HR professionals will head to the State Capitol in Sacramento and advocate with state legislators on workplace public policy issues including AB 353. The presence of HR professionals in the State Capitol, along with SHRM and CalSHRM’s continued advocacy efforts in California, has gone a long way in enhancing SHRM’s brand in California.
The Sacramento Area Human Resource Association will, through the efforts of committed volunteer members, inspire, engage, and develop HR professionals to meet the challenges of a constantly changing business environment.