Senate Sends Veterans Package to Governor for Enactment

HARRISBURG – The state Senate gave final approval this week of six bills boosting support for Pennsylvania veterans and their families, said Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry).

“Pennsylvania has a very large veteran population, and much was asked of them in their years of service,” said DiSanto. “Passage of these bills represents our continuing commitment to the men and women who served and sacrificed.”

Senate Bill 1076 makes the Military Family Relief Assistance Program permanent. The authorizing legislation was due to end this year. The program provides grants of up to $3,500 to eligible service members or their family during a time of hardship arising from active duty. 

Senate Bill 976 places Veterans Courts into state law, encourages counties to partner on Regional Veterans Courts, and provides an option for a “Veterans Track” within a county’s problem-solving court. Veterans Courts are optional for veterans and provide mentorship, specialized probation officers and treatment for underlying problems. These courts produce extremely low recidivism rates in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

Senate Bill 952 updates the state Veterans’ Preference Law, which provides a hiring preference to qualified veterans seeking public employment in line with skills and experience obtained during their military training. The bill makes several changes, such as clarifying the transfer of public employment preference to spouses and allowing those transitioning from military service or in the Reserves or National Guard to receive the law’s preference.

House Bill 375 excludes the value of a veteran’s federal disability payments and the value of all state service-connected payments from income eligibility calculations for the PACE and PACENET programs. The bill would help more veterans qualify for prescription drug assistance.

House Bill 86 and Senate Bill 395 promote the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Flag. House Bill 86 requires the POW/MIA flag to be flown whenever the U.S. flag is displayed on any ground or building owned by the Commonwealth. Senate Bill 395 requires the display of the POW/MIA flag at all roadside rest stops and welcome centers operated by the PA Department of Transportation, as well as at PA Turnpike service plazas.

The bills will be sent to the Governor’s Office to be signed into law.

 

CONTACT: Chuck Erdman cerdman@pasen.gov (717) 787-6801