House, Senate Pass VALOR Act II

MOran-Estella(BOSTON) – Representative Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence) joined his colleagues in the Legislature to pass the VALOR Act II which builds upon existing legislation to expand opportunities and services for military personnel, veterans and their families.

The legislation provides increased property tax relief and enhances employment, educational and healthcare support services. It creates a home modification program to help injured veterans stay in their homes and function independently, and authorizes the Secretary of Veterans’ Services to establish enhanced training and certification for veterans’ benefits and services officers.

“This legislation sends a message to our veterans that we appreciate their bravery, sacrifice and service,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “Most importantly, it aids those who have supported America during some of the country’s most difficult times by providing resources to help them build a bright future. I’m incredibly proud that Massachusetts leads the nation in aiding veterans and military personnel and I believe this bill furthers that commitment.”

“Massachusetts has long led the nation in recognizing and providing for our veterans, and I am proud that this bill will further these efforts,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “By working to expand benefits and services for veterans, we remind our men and women in uniform that their sacrifice does not go unnoticed and that the Legislature will continue to support them both abroad and at home.”

“Thanks to my colleagues in the House, the Senate and on the Committee of Veterans and Federal Affairs, today, with the passage of the VALOR Act II, we as a legislature have done more for our veterans and their families over the past few years than at any other period in last quarter century,” Representative Carlo Basile, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs (D-East Boston) said. “I am very proud of the process we have undergone to craft this bill. This legislation allows us to do our small part in helping those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our families and our way of life. The VALOR Act II is our way to honor veterans, the bravest men and women of the Commonwealth, and offer them in some small manner, our sign of appreciation.”

I want to thank my colleagues in the House who voted for their work on the VALOR Act II. I am proud to have voted to strengthen these critical services for veterans by passing legislation that offers training, provides increased property tax relief and career opportunities to those returning home from military service.

Said Representative Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence)

The bill also includes the below provisions:

• Allows students currently enrolled in college, who are called to active duty, to either complete their coursework without penalty following duty, or to withdraw and receive a tuition refund;

• Increases penalties for disturbing military funerals or services;

• Enacts provisions to guard against charity fraud;

• Requires the Division of Professional Licensure to waive the initial application or certification fee for licensure for any veteran;

• Establishes a post-deployment council to make recommendations and study mental health issues to support military members transitioning to civilian life after deployment;

• Requires the Department of Public Health to issue guidance to acute hospitals and ambulance service providers to ensure the identification of veterans in emergency settings.