Military-related Legislation Moves to the Senate, Governor and First Lady Continue to Advocate for Bills

June 4, 2013

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 4
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann M. LePage on Tuesday continued encouraging legislators to support two bills that ensure the state’s students have opportunities to explore military service. Debates today began in the House Chamber on LD 1502 and LD 1503 – both are Governor’s bills sponsored by House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport.

LD 1502, An Act To Expand Student Access to Certain Career Information and Opportunities, would require school boards to adopt policies allowing the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, known as ASVAB, to students who are interested. Some public high schools in Maine currently prohibit its administration on school grounds.

Republican lawmakers, many of them veterans, spoke in favor of the bill, saying that ASVAB is a valuable vocational aptitude tool for civilian as well as military jobs. They noted that opposition to the measure is reminiscent of the anti-military sentiment that marked the Vietnam era. However, the bill was rejected mostly along party lines, 74-68.

“Yet again Democrats continue to deny our students opportunities and options. The ASVAB test has great value in helping students consider their future potential in life and does not solely focus on military careers,” Governor LePage said. “It provides students and advisors a critical aptitude testing tool that helps students better understand themselves, regardless of the professions they choose.”

LD 1503, An Act To Ensure Student Access to Post-secondary Military Options, was also voted on in the House Tuesday after an hour of debate. The bill would require school districts to adopt policies allowing uniformed military recruiters the same access and opportunity to meet with students enjoyed by other post-secondary and career recruiters.

“Maine schools should be encouraging our nation’s uniformed heroes coming into schools, not discriminating against them. Banning uniformed recruiters and blocking students from taking the ASVAB is shameful behavior,” the Governor said.

“Military service is our nation’s highest calling, and nothing should stand in the way of Maine’s students who wish to pursue that brave and patriotic path,” said First Lady Ann LePage, who has made advocacy for Maine’s military members of past and present and their families a priority of her tenure as Maine’s First Lady. “Maine students should have the same opportunity to talk to recruiters from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard as they do those from any college or university. We may have our political differences here in Augusta, but for the good of Maine’s young adults and our nation, let’s put them aside and join together to support these bills.”

Ultimately, House lawmakers passed LD 1503, 115-28.

Both bills now go to the Senate.