Chapter 5903: VETERANS' RIGHTS

5903.01 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

"Armed forces" means the armed forces of the United States, including the army, navy, air force, marine corps, coast guard, or any reserve components of those forces; the national guard of any state; the commissioned corps of the United States public health service; the merchant marine service during wartime; such other service as may be designated by congress; or the Ohio organized militia when engaged in full-time national guard duty for a period of more than thirty days.

"License" means a license, certificate, permit, or other authorization issued or conferred by a licensing agency under which a licensee may engage in a profession, occupation, or occupational activity.

"Licensee" means a person to whom all of the following apply:

(A) The person has been issued a license by a licensing agency.

(B) The person has been a member of the armed forces.

(C) The person has served on active duty, whether inside or outside the United States, for a period in excess of thirty-one days.

"Licensing agency" means any state department, division, board, commission, agency, or other state governmental unit authorized by the Revised Code to issue a license.

"Service member" means any person who is serving in the armed forces.

"Merchant marine" includes the United States army transport service and the United States naval transport service.

"Veteran" means any person who has completed service in the armed forces, including the national guard of any state, or a reserve component of the armed forces, who has been discharged under honorable conditions from the armed forces or who has been transferred to the reserve with evidence of satisfactory service.

Added by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

5903.02 Reinstatement and reemployment rights.

(A) As used in this section, "uniformed services" and "service in the uniformed services" have the same meanings as in the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994," 108 Stat. 3149, 38 U.S.C.A. 4303 .

(B) Any person whose absence from a position of employment is necessitated by reason of service in the uniformed services or in the Ohio organized militia has the same reinstatement and reemployment rights in this state that a person has under the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994." A person who is denied a reinstatement or reemployment right pursuant to this section has a cause of action for the same remedies as a person has under the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994." The court of common pleas, notwithstanding any sum limitation established by decision of a board of county commissioners pursuant to section 2305.01 of the Revised Code, shall have exclusive original jurisdiction for such actions, unless the defendant is the state, in which case the court of claims shall have exclusive original jurisdiction pursuant to division (C) of this section.

(C) A person who seeks reinstatement or reemployment rights with the state, pursuant to this section, may bring an action in the court of claims pursuant to this section or section 4323 of the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994."

(D) In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of this section, the court shall require the defendant to pay the court costs if the plaintiff is the prevailing party in the action or proceeding. If the plaintiff is not the prevailing party, the court may use its discretion in allocating court costs among the parties to the action.

(E) In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of this section the court may award to a plaintiff who prevails in such action or proceeding reasonable attorney's fees, expert witness fees, and other litigation expenses. If the plaintiff does not receive a favorable judgment from the court in that action, the court shall not require the plaintiff to reimburse the state or the defendant for attorney's fees.

(F) The director of administrative services shall adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code for the implementation of this chapter with respect to persons in public service.

(G) A person is not entitled to a remedy in a state action under division (B) or (C) of this section if the person has received a remedy based on the same facts under the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994." If a person has received a remedy in a state action under division (B) or (C) of this section and then receives a remedy based on the same facts under the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994," the person shall reimburse the judgment debtor the value of the federal remedy or the state remedy whichever is less.

Effective Date: 09-18-1997; 2008 SB289 08-22-2008; 2008 SB248 04-07-2009

5903.03 Occupational licensing.

(A) As used in this section

, "military program of training" means a training program of the armed forces .

(B) Notwithstanding any provision of the Revised Code to the contrary, a licensing agency shall consider an applicant for a license:

(1) To have met the educational requirement for that license if the applicant has completed a military program of training and has been awarded a military primary specialty at a level that is substantially equivalent to or exceeds the educational requirement for that license; and

(2) To have met the experience requirement for that license if the applicant has served in that military primary specialty under honorable conditions for a period of time that is substantially equivalent to or exceeds the experience requirement for that license.

(C) Each licensing agency, not later than June 30, 2014, shall adopt rules under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code regarding which military programs of training, military primary specialties, and lengths of service are substantially equivalent to or exceed the educational and experience requirements for each license that agency issues.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

Added by 130th General Assembly File No. 45, HB 98, §1, eff. 11/15/2013.

5903.04 Adoption of rules.

Each licensing agency shall adopt rules under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code to establish and implement all of the following:

(A) A process to obtain from each applicant documentation and additional information necessary to determine if the applicant is a service member or veteran, or the spouse or surviving spouse of a service member or veteran;

(B) A process to record, track, and monitor applications that have been received from a service member, veteran, or the spouse or surviving spouse of a service member or veteran; and

(C) A process to prioritize and expedite certification or licensing for each applicant who is a service member, veteran, or the spouse or a surviving spouse of a service member or veteran.

In establishing these processes, the licensing agency shall include any special accommodations that may be appropriate for applicants facing imminent deployment.

Added by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

5903.05 Veteran's education benefits.

A licensing agency shall apply for approval to the state approving agency at the Ohio department of veterans services as required under 38 U.S.C. 3672(a) to enable an eligible person or veteran to receive education benefits through the United States department of veterans affairs.

Added by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

5903.06 to 5903.08 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 09-29-1994

5903.09 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 09-18-1997

5903.10 Renewal of license or certificate.

(A) A holder of an expired license or certificate from this state or any political subdivision or agency of the state to practice a trade or profession shall be granted a renewal of the license or certificate by the issuing board or authority at the usual cost without penalty and without re-examination if not otherwise disqualified because of mental or physical disability and if either of the following applies:

(1) The license or certificate was not renewed because of the holder's service in the armed forces .

(2) The license or certificate was not renewed because the holder's spouse served in the armed forces of the United States or a reserve component of the armed forces and the service resulted in the holder's absence from this state.

(B) A renewal shall not be granted under division (A) of this section unless the holder or the holder's spouse, whichever is applicable, has presented satisfactory evidence of the service member's discharge under honorable conditions or release under honorable conditions from active duty or national guard duty within six months after the discharge or release.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 45, HB 98, §1, eff. 11/15/2013.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.138, HB 490, §1, eff. 9/28/2012.

Effective Date: 11-21-1967; 2007 HB372 03-24-2008

5903.11 Veteran priority system to provide maximum employment and training opportunities to veterans.

(A) Any federally funded employment and training program administered by any state agency including, but not limited to, the "Workforce Investment Act of 1998," 112 Stat. 936, codified in scattered sections of 29 U.S.C., as amended, shall include a veteran priority system to provide maximum employment and training opportunities to veterans and eligible persons within each targeted group as established by federal law and state and federal policy in the service area. Disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, other veterans, and eligible persons shall receive preference over nonveterans within each targeted group in the provision of employment and training services available through these programs as required by this section.

(B) Each state agency shall refer qualified applicants to job openings and training opportunities in programs described in division (A) of this section in the following order of priority:

(1) Special disabled veterans;

(2) Veterans of the Vietnam era;

(3) Disabled veterans;

(4) All other veterans;

(5) Other eligible persons;

(6) Nonveterans.

(C) Each state agency providing employment and training services to veterans and eligible persons under programs described in division (A) of this section shall submit an annual written report to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate on the services that it provides to veterans and eligible persons. Each such agency shall report separately on all entitlement programs, employment or training programs, and any other programs that it provides to each class of persons described in divisions (B)(1) to (6) of this section. Each such agency shall also report on action taken to ensure compliance with statutory requirements. Compliance and reporting procedures shall be in accordance with the reporting procedures then in effect for all employment and training programs described in division (A) of this section, with the addition of veterans as a separate reporting module.

(D) All state agencies that administer federally funded employment and training programs described in division (A) of this section for veterans and eligible persons shall do all of the following:

(1) Ensure that veterans are treated with courtesy and respect at all state governmental facilities;

(2) Give priority in referral to jobs to qualified veterans and other eligible persons;

(3) Give priority in referral to and enrollment in training programs to qualified veterans and other eligible persons;

(4) Give preferential treatment to special disabled veterans in the provision of all needed state services;

(5) Provide information and effective referral assistance to veterans and other eligible persons regarding needed benefits and services that may be obtained through other agencies.

(E) As used in this section:

(1) "Special disabled veteran" means a veteran who is entitled to, or who but for the receipt of military pay would be entitled to, compensation under any law administered by the department of veterans affairs for a disability rated at thirty per cent or more or a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.

(2) "Veteran of the Vietnam era" means an eligible veteran who served on active duty for a period of more than one hundred eighty days, any part of which occurred from August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975, and was discharged or released therefrom with other than a dishonorable discharge or a person who was discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability if any part of the active duty was performed from August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975.

(3) "Disabled veteran" means a veteran who is entitled to, or who but for the receipt of military retirement pay would be entitled to compensation, under any law administered by the department of veterans affairs and who is not a special disabled veteran.

(4) "Eligible veteran" means a person who served on active duty for more than one hundred eighty days and was discharged or released from active duty with other than a dishonorable discharge or a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.

(5) "Other eligible person" means one of the following:

(a) The spouse of any person who died of a service-connected disability;

(b) The spouse of any member of the armed forces serving on active duty who at the time of the spouse's application for assistance under any program described in division (A) of this section is listed pursuant to the "Act of September 6, 1966," 80 Stat. 629, 37 U.S.C.A. 556, and the regulations issued pursuant thereto, as having been in one or more of the following categories for a total of ninety or more days:

(i) Missing in action;

(ii) Captured in line of duty by a hostile force;

(iii) Forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.

(c) The spouse of any person who has a total disability permanent in nature resulting from a service-connected disability or the spouse of a veteran who died while such a disability was in existence.

(6) "Veteran" means

a veteran as defined in section 5903.01 of the Revised Code who was a member of the armed forces of the United States for a period of one hundred eighty days or more ; a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability;

or a person who served as a member of the United States merchant marine and to whom either of the following applies:

(a) The person has an honorable report of separation from active duty military service, form DD214 or DD215 ; or

(b) The person served in the United States merchant marine between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, and died on active duty while serving in a war zone during that period of service.

(7)

"Employment program" means a program which provides referral of individuals to employer job openings in the federal, state, or private sector.

(8) "Training program" means any program that upgrades the employability of qualified applicants.

(9) "Entitlement program" means any program that enlists specific criteria in determining eligibility, including but not limited to the existence in special segments of the general population of specific financial needs.

(10) "Targeted group" means a group of persons designated by federal law or regulations or by state law to receive special assistance under an employment and training program described in division (A) of this section.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.138, HB 490, §1, eff. 9/28/2012.

Effective Date: 03-17-2000

5903.12 Extension of continuing education reporting period for licensee called to active duty military service.

(A) As used in this section:

"Continuing education" means continuing education required of a licensee by law and includes, but is not limited to, the continuing education required of licensees under sections 3737.881, 3781.10, 4701.11, 4715.141, 4715.25, 4717.09, 4723.24, 4725.16, 4725.51, 4730.14, 4730.49, 4731.281, 4734.25, 4735.141, 4736.11, 4741.16, 4741.19, 4751.07, 4755.63, 4757.33, 4759.06, 4761.06, and 4763.07 of the Revised Code.

.

"Reporting period" means the period of time during which a licensee must complete the number of hours of continuing education required of the licensee by law.

(B) A licensee may submit an application to a licensing agency, stating that the licensee requires an extension of the current reporting period because the licensee has served on active duty during the current or a prior reporting period. The licensee shall submit proper documentation certifying the active duty service and the length of that active duty service. Upon receiving the application and proper documentation, the licensing agency shall extend the current reporting period by an amount of time equal to the total number of months that the licensee spent on active duty during the current reporting period. For purposes of this division, any portion of a month served on active duty shall be considered one full month.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 45, HB 98, §1, eff. 11/15/2013.

Effective Date: 04-10-2001; 05-17-2006; 2007 HB372 03-24-2008

5903.121 Factors used in determining fulfillment of required continuing education.

A licensing agency shall consider relevant education, training, or service completed by a licensee as a member of the armed forces in determining whether a licensee has fulfilled required continuing education.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 45, HB 98, §1, eff. 11/15/2013.

Effective Date: 2007 HB372 03-24-2008

5903.15 Preferential hiring policies.

(A) As used in this section "employer" means any person who has one or more employees. "Employer" includes an agent of an employer but does not include the state or any agency of the state, and any municipal corporation, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision or any agency or instrumentality thereof.

(B) An employer may adopt a policy to provide a preference for employment decisions, including hiring, promotion, or retention during a reduction in force, to a service member, veteran, or the spouse or a surviving spouse of a service member or veteran.

(C) A preference provided under division (B) of this section is not a violation of any state or local equal employment opportunity law. The unlawful discriminatory practices as defined in section 4112.02 of the Revised Code do not make it unlawful for an employer implementing a policy under this section to obtain information about an applicant's military status for the purpose of determining if the applicant is eligible for the preference provided under this policy.

(D) If an employer elects to adopt a policy described in division (B) of this section, the employer may notify the Ohio department of job and family services. The department of job and family services shall maintain a registry of employers that have a voluntary veterans' preference employment policy as described in this section, which shall be available to the public on the web site maintained by the department. The department of veterans services shall make available on the department's web site a link to the registry.

Added by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 488, §1, eff. 9/16/2014.

5903.21 to 5903.26 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 12-02-1996

5903.99 Penalty.

Whoever violates section 5903.02 of the Revised Code may be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Effective Date: 09-18-1997; 2008 SB289 08-22-2008