“Knucklehead bill” would forgive veterans

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A violation for underage drinking can be waived to allow someone to enter the military, but it can prevent that same person from getting a public sector job even after being honorably discharged from their volunteer duty.

Known as the “knucklehead bill,” HF1124 would forgive veterans who made “a dumb and stupid move” in their youth and give them a presumptive certificate of rehabilitation, similar to what is available to some criminal offenders, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo Township).

Trista Matascastillo, chair of Minnesota Women Veterans Initiative Working Group, said her own husband applied, after returning from military duty, to be a personal care assistant for the couple’s special needs child, only he was denied due to a youthful indiscretion.

John Baker, a retired Marine and attorney, said there is a 15 percent unemployment rate of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. He seeks to add an honorable military service discharge to the list of ways those seeking employment can receive a presumptive certificate of rehabilitation.

The bill was approved by the House Veterans Services Division and forwarded to the House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee. Sen. Linda Higgins (DFL-Mpls) sponsors its companion, SF878, which awaits action by the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.

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