BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Senate lawmakers say Massachusetts is a national leader in veteran services and with Memorial Day ahead in the calendar, they plan to continue that trend by passing new legislation called the â€śValor Actâ€ť this Thursday.
Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said the bill aims to improve access to veteran services. â€śFrom educational services for children of active military to small business assistance for disabled veterans, this bill touches on many areas â€¦identified as areas we can still improve on,â€ť said Murray.
The bill facilitates financial assistance for veteran-owned businesses, encourages colleges and universities to provide academic credit for military experience and requires probation officers and court administrators to identify veterans, better understand their issues, and handle them appropriately.
Having returned from deployment to Iraq in December, Sen. Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury) was pleased with the bipartisan support for the bill. â€ś[This bill] ensure[s] that we do remain number one in terms of how we treat the veterans, their families, dealing with employment issues, education,â€ť said Rush.
The bill gives service members 90 days to renew certain work licenses and certificates after returning from active duty. Former Chairman of the Joint Committee on Veterans Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) said there are 400,000 veterans in Massachusetts and more returning home from the Middle East.
â€śWeâ€™re focusing on a multifaceted veterans legislation here today,â€ť said Brewer. â€śTo allow a seamless transition from the military into the civilian work force.â€ť
Lawmakers estimate the cost of the bill will be just under $300,000 in fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1
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