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Pence touts pro-veteran stance

Gov. Mike Pence pledged Tuesday in Fort Wayne to make Indiana “the most veteran-friendly state” in the nation.

He said House Enrolled Act 1242 will help by prohibiting Hoosier employers from discriminating against prospective workers because they are military veterans, reservists or members of the National Guard.

During remarks at the local Air National Guard, Pence noted that the unemployment rate among service members returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been twice as high as that for the general population.

“We intend to continue to work and labor to get our veterans who are out of work back to work and make sure that Indiana is the most veteran-friendly state in the United States of America,” the Republican governor told about 100 people in a hangar at the 122nd Fighter Wing.

With four A-10 combat jets parked behind him, Pence signed HEA 1242 for the second time.

He signed the bill into law a month earlier after it was unanimously passed by the House and the Senate.

Violations may result in an employer losing state licensing and having to hire job applicants who were discriminated against.

Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne, authored the legislation. Indiana AMVETS legislative director Ron Martin presented Carbaugh with the group’s Legislator of the Year award for 2014, pointing out that Indiana is the first state to outlaw employment discrimination based on a person’s military status.

Carbaugh said the bill was a group effort at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

“You’ve got a bunch of legislators down there committed to making Indiana the best state for veterans to live, both during service and after service,” he told the crowd, which included state and local government officials and airmen for the 122nd Fighter Wing.