RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Bob McDonnell recognized three Virginia Guard Soldiers from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 91st Troop Command during his State of the Commonwealth Speech Jan. 11. He also announced support for legislation to give Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen in-state tuition.
“Since September 11th, 2001, nearly 14,000 members of the Virginia National Guard have left their families and jobs to defend our freedom,” McDonnell said . “Over 230 Virginians have given their lives in the Global War on Terror.”
McDonnell attended the welcome home ceremony Dec. 10, 2011, for more than 200 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion who returned to Virginia after serving in Iraq since April. He recognized the battalion’s executive officer, Maj. Carl Engstrom and a father and son who deployed together, 1st Sgt. Kelvin Franklin and his son, Pfc. Quinton Franklin.
“Gentlemen, thank you for your deep commitment to freedom,” McDonnell said. ” The brave men and women who volunteer for the Virginia National Guard are great patriots. That’s why I propose that we provide in-state tuition for all members of the Virginia National Guard, regardless of how long they’ve lived here. We will continue to make this the most veteran-friendly state in America. You serve Virginia, we serve you.”
The actual bill introduced into the House of Delegates Christopher P. Stolle (R-83rd) is HB HB 644:
In-state tuition; members of the Virginia National Guard
SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED: In-state tuition; members of the Virginia National Guard. Provides that any member of the Virginia National Guard residing in Virginia shall be eligible for in-state tuition at a public institution of higher education. This is broader than the current provision, which requires a guard member to be (i) activated or mobilized or on temporary active orders for six months or more, (ii) stationed or assigned by military service to a work location in Virginia, and (iii) residing in Virginia.
The bill is scheduled to be introduced into the Senate with the same language by Senator Frank W. Wagner (R-7th), but the bill number is not currently available.
Another import piece of legislation sponsored by the Virginia Department of Military Affairs gives preferential hiring of Virginia National Guard members for state employment. The bill has been introduced by Delegate Mark I. Cole (R 88th) as HB 384:
Virginia Personnel Act; hiring preference in state employment for members of National Guard
SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED: Virginia Personnel Act; hiring preference in state employment for members of the Virginia National Guard. Establishes a preference in state hiring for members of the Virginia National Guard. Under the bill, when a member of the Virginia National Guard applies for a position or job classification requiring an assessment using numerical ratings, points equal to five percent of the total points available from the assessment device or devices shall be added to the member’s passing score. The preference shall not be applied if recruitment for the position is limited to state employees or over an applicant who is (i) a veteran, (ii) a former prisoner of war, or (iii) a more qualified member of the Virginia National Guard.
The bill is scheduled to be introduced into the Senate with the same language by Senator Thomas A. Garrett, Jr. (R-22nd), but the bill number is not currently available.
Click here to view more photos from the event.
Click here to watch a video clip on Facebook of Gov. McDonnell recognizing Virginia Guard Soldiers during the State of the Commonwealth Address.