Bill Changing Veterans Preference Hearings Headed to House Floor

If your city has a civil service commission, contact your representatives in the House as soon as possible.
(Published Mar 31, 2014)

A proposal allowing a veteran to choose a city’s civil service commission or a three-person panel for veterans preference hearings was passed out of committee on March 26 and will now be placed on the general register for full House action.

Under current law, veterans preference hearings are conducted by a city's civil service commission if one exists.

HF 2117 was originally introduced to require that all costs incurred by a veteran resulting from a veterans preference hearing would be paid by the "state, political subdivision, municipality, or other public agency" that was found to have denied the veteran's rights granted by the Veterans Preference Act. Costs to be paid by the government entity would include "reasonable expenses, attorney fees, or other costs incurred by the veteran directly related to petitioning for relief under this section.”

League staff have worked with the author, Rep. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville) on various amendments, and the latest iteration was adopted on March 26 in the House State Government Finance and Veteran’s Affairs Committee and passed to the floor for full House action.

The current language now allows a veteran to choose the use of a civil service commission for a veterans preference hearing if the political subdivision has a commission, or the veteran can opt for a three-person panel.

The bill also explicitly states that political subdivisions are responsible for hearing costs, except for the veteran’s attorney fees. When the bill was heard on March 24, representatives from two cities with civil service commissions—Minneapolis and St. Paul—spoke to the efficiency of civil service commissions by using the same individuals to hear veterans preference cases.

Committee members stated during the hearing that cities and counties with civil service commissions have contacted them with their concerns.

The Senate companion bill, SF 2778 has been introduced but has not received a committee hearing yet. The schedule is changing rapidly, so check the legislative calendar frequently to track this bill.

If your city has a civil service commission, contact your representatives in the House as soon as possible to share your concerns before it is heard on the House floor and voted on. Also contact the author of the Senate companion and your senator to share your city’s experience with veterans preference hearings and your civil service commission.

Read the current issue of the Cities Bulletin

* By posting you are agreeing to the LMC Comment Policy.