Nashville, TN – On Thursday, March 9th, lawmakers unanimously passed legislation co-sponsored by Representatives Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) and Jay Reedy (R-Erin) aimed at increasing private employment opportunities for military veterans and their families.
House Bill 165 encourages private employers to hire honorably discharged veterans, spouses of a veteran with a service-connected disability, unremarried widows or widowers of veterans who died of service-connected disability, and unremarried widows or widowers of a member of the military who died in the line of duty.
Private employers that adopt a veteran’s preference must have their policy in writing and may require a potential employee to submit a certificate of release or discharge from active duty as proof of their eligibility for the preference. The veteran’s preference must be applied consistently to all employment decisions made by a company regarding hiring and promotion.
“Our servicemen and women make personal sacrifices every day in order to protect and defend our freedom,” said Representative Johnson. “It is critical that we support them by increasing their employment options in the private sector.”
“As a veteran, I have always encouraged military families to pursue their personal and professional goals and dreams,” said Representative Reedy. “This legislation will ensure our heroes are able to utilize a variety of employment opportunities in order to provide a better life for their families.”
House Bill 165 is the latest in a series of legislation that demonstrates support for and honors Tennessee military veterans and their families. In 2016, five soldiers killed in the Chattanooga terrorist attack were awarded the “Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal” by Governor Bill Haslam for their heroic efforts on Tennessee soil.
Recently, lawmakers also passed the National Guard Force Protection Act, which enhances protection at Tennessee National Guard facilities and military installations. Additionally, legislation passed the full House that strengthened and made the Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) program available to private, non-profit institutions of higher education throughout the state. The highly successful VETS program encourages colleges and universities to prioritize outreach to veterans and successfully deliver the services necessary to create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.
The full text of House Bill 165 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB0165.pdf
Curtis Johnson serves as a member of the House Calendar & Rules, House Finance, Ways & Means, House Government Operations, House Business & Utilities, House Rules and the Joint Government Operations Committees. He is also a member of the House Business & Utilities Subcommittee, as well as the Joint Government Operations Commerce, Labor, Transportation & Agriculture Subcommittees. Johnson lives in Clarksville and represents House District 68, which includes part of Montgomery County. Johnson can be reached by email at or by calling 615.741.4341.
Jay Reedy serves as a member of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Education Instruction & Programs Committee. He lives in Erin and represents House District 74, which includes all of Houston, Humphreys, and part of Montgomery Counties. He can be reached by email at or by calling 615.741.7098.