by J.D. Davidson
Ohio lawmakers return from recess in September with an opportunity to make the state the “most military friendly state in the country,” following the introduction of a bill that requires government agencies to ask about veteran status.
The bill, introduced earlier this month by Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, proposes to provide opportunities to better connect veterans with services. It also requires government agencies to ask about active duty military status and inform service members of other resources.
“Wright Patterson Air Force Base is so critical to our region’s economy and our nation’s security,” said Antani, whose district includes Wright Patterson. “I will continue to work hard to help our active duty military on base at the state level, and this bill will make us a leader across the nation.”
Antani said the bill is a priority for the U.S. Department of Defense and one of two bills not yet passed by the General Assembly as part of the DOD’s 2021 Key Personnel and Readiness Issues Supporting Service Members and Families checklist.
Both bills Ohio lacks have been introduced. If each is passed and signed into law, Ohio would be the first state in the country to complete the checklist.
“Ohio’s commitment to our military service men and women doesn’t end when their years of service are over. Veterans and retirees stay in Ohio because of the services and support we offer,” said Elaine Bryant, executive vice president of the Dayton Development Coalition. “Senator Antani’s ‘Ask the Question’ bill will help ensure our veterans and retirees can access the support they need and bring these benefits to more Ohioans.”
The General Assembly already passed legislation this year that allows military families to enroll children in Ohio schools remotely or in-person when the family is assigned to move to an Ohio military facility.
The Ask-the-Question bill is waiting to be referred to a Senate committee.
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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is a regional editor for The Center Square.