The Senate Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security today approved legislation sponsored by state Rep. Joseph Graves that will help get veterans back to work faster upon returning to civilian life.

House Bill 5590 is part of an effort to speed the licensing process in Michigan for veterans in 12 different occupations.

Rep. Graves' bill addresses licensing of private security guards, while other bills in the package include plumbers and electricians.

"The military provides top-notch training for service men and women and we should honor the time they spent doing military work upon their return to civilian life," said Graves, R-Argentine Township. "Waiting for paperwork to clear should not stand in the way of a veteran getting back to work, and my legislation is the beginning of efforts to address this issue."

A June 2011 report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee showed that the unemployment rate among veterans in Michigan was significantly higher than the national average.

HB 5590 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.