COLUMBUS—Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) this week announced the Senate's recent passage of two pieces of legislation to help support military families and eliminate barriers for veterans.

Senate Bill 116, co-sponsored by Obhof, would allow spouses of active duty military members to be eligible for unemployment compensation when their family is transferred to a new duty assignment. Currently, 45 states and the District of Columbia provide similar benefits to military spouses. This legislation is supported by U.S. Department of Defense, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, the Ohio National Guard and a number of other veterans’ organizations.

The Senate also concurred on changes made by the House of Representatives to Senate Bill 170, which will waive the skills test for a commercial driver's license for veterans who have applicable military certifications.

Senate Bill 170, which was co-sponored by Obhof, would require the Director of Public Safety to seek approval from the United States Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to create a temporary pilot program, allowing many qualified veterans the opportunity to pursue a profitable career as a truck operator.

"Our veterans should be afforded every opportunity to use the skills they gained while serving in the military when they come home to look for employment," said Obhof. “This bill not only helps them use those skills, but also helps Ohio's employers fill trucking jobs that remain unfilled due to a lack qualified applicants.”

Currently, veterans have two years from the time they are discharged from the military to use the current CDL training waiver and begin working as a professional truck driver. The removal of the restrictive two-year time limit and waiver of the skills test would allow military veterans to be exempt from regularly-required CDL licensure training.

Senate Bill 116 will now move to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration. Senate Bill 170 will head to the Governor for his signature.