HARRISBURG – Today, the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, approved five measures aiding military families and veterans, according to Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland and York), Chairman of the Committee.
“Last week, Veterans Day was observed across America, and today I am pleased to put forth a bipartisan package of bills that furthers our support for the men and women that have honorably served our Nation,” said Regan.
Senate Bill 276, sponsored by Senator Judy Ward (R-30), would increase from $150 to $180 the amount the state pays to disabled veterans through both the Blind Veterans’ Pension and the Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans’ Pension programs. To be eligible, a veteran must have been a resident of Pennsylvania upon entering the military, served in the military honorably, suffered a service-connected injury, and have at least a forty percent VA disability rating or higher.
“The Commonwealth has not increased the amount that it provides these disabled veterans since 1999,” noted Regan. “I believe this increase is both merited and affordable.”
Senate Bill 952, sponsored by Senator Regan, would update the Veterans Preference Law.
“In recent years, the General Assembly has passed measures modernizing our Pennsylvania Civil Service laws and now we are updating our Veterans Preference Law without taking away any rights that were earned,” stated Regan.
Senate Bill 957, sponsored by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), would create a logo for veteran-owned, reservist-owned, and National Guard-owned businesses in Pennsylvania. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs would be charged with creating the logo and verifying the businesses as service member-owned.
“I am pleased to support this legislation providing a valuable marketing tool to support the entrepreneurial efforts of veterans throughout Pennsylvania,” said Regan.
House Bill 630, sponsored by Representative Gary Day (R-187), would extend employment protection for Pennsylvania residents who are members of an out-of-state National Guard unit. Current law provides such protections to individuals serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard or the Reserves.
“Whether you are serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard or another state unit, you need to be focused on your mission when activated,” stated Regan. “This legislation provides a needed measure of protection to all Pennsylvania residents called to action through the National Guard.”
House Bill 1050, sponsored by Representative Frank Buns (D-72), guarantees in-state tuition for reassigned military families.
“The U.S. Department of Defense has found that some students lose their in-state tuition rate if their military parent is reassigned to another state between the day they are accepted to a Pennsylvania college and the first day of the semester,” explained Regan. “As such, this legislation will ensure that doesn’t happen by ensuring the in-state tuition rate as soon as a student submits the enrollment deposit.”
Each of the bills now goes before the full Senate for further consideration.
For a link to the video from the meeting, click HERE.
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