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Bill Could Streamline Process for Troops, Veterans to Get CDL

An Airman and a Marine practice driving the R-11 aircraft refueler Nov. 16, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kenneth Boyton)
An Airman and a Marine practice driving the R-11 aircraft refueler Nov. 16, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kenneth Boyton)

Sen. Thom Tillis has joined with senators from Texas and Massachusetts to introduce a bill that would simplify the process for troops and veterans to apply for a commercial driver's license.

Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, and Sens. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, and Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, introduced The Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2017.

According to officials, the legislation "streamlines and eases the burden on the process whereby active-duty military, reservists and veterans apply for their commercial driver's license."

The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015 provided similar benefits for veterans applying for a CDL, according to Tillis' office. The Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2017 would permanently extend those same benefits to those still in uniform.

Specifically, the legislation would make permanent a two-year exemption issued by the Department of Transportation that allowed states to waive the commercial driver's license knowledge test for current service members, Reservists and National Guardsmen if they completed military training programs and had been regularly employed in a military position requiring the operation of heavy vehicles within the past year.

"The brave men and women that serve in the U.S. military learn a wide-range of skills applicable to jobs once they enter the civilian workforce, but too often face unnecessary barriers that make it harder for them to find jobs," Tillis said in a release. "This legislation will eliminate burdensome red tape so our active-duty military, reservists, and veterans can receive the DOT-required health examination and use the experience they gained serving our nation to count towards the credit needed to obtain a commercial driver's license."

Warren said the bipartisan bill removes legal obstacles delaying service members from getting their commercial licenses. She said veterans who have the training and experience the military offers have the skills needed to drive trucks on the nation's highways.

Cornyn agreed.

"We should be making it easier, not harder, for members of the armed forces to be gainfully employed both while they are in the reserves and after they complete their service," Cornyn said. "The servicemen and women who have experience operating large military vehicles should be able to easily apply their skills and knowledge when seeking a commercial driver's license, and this legislation allows for just that."

This article is written by Drew Brooks from The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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