House Passes Several Measures to Benefit Pennsylvania Veterans
10/18/2012
HARRISBURG – A package of bills passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week aimed at helping the state’s veterans, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said today.

“The House is doing more than honoring veterans at ceremonies,” Turzai said. “A number of bills have been enacted or passed by the House in the past two years that bring additional rights and benefits to veterans and their families.”

Helping Our Heroes
House Bill 2428, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong), would offer a special designation on Pennsylvania driver’s licenses for veterans who served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, including reserve units or the National Guard, and who were discharged or released from such service under conditions other than dishonorable. The cost of the regular renewal will remain the same but there is no additional cost to the veteran for the special designation mark.

House Bill 2591, sponsored by Rep. Bob Godshall (R-Montgomery), would bring the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) into compliance with the Federal Heroes Earning Assistance and Relief Act of 2008 (HEART) and will conform Pennsylvania law regarding pension credit for military leave for state employees and SERS members with federal law.

Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) sponsored Senate Bill 623. It would encourage state agencies to contract with veteran-owned small businesses. Under the bill, the Department of General Services has an annual statewide goal of not less than 3 percent participation in statewide contracts entered into by the department with veteran-owned small businesses, and would provide training to help veteran-owned businesses learn how to apply for state contracts. The department would also make available lists of veteran-owned businesses with the training and contacts necessary to access large private sector companies for contract opportunities.

Sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne/Monroe/Pike/Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming), Senate Bill 1531 would create the Pennsylvania Veterans Trust Fund (PVTF) to supplement state appropriations for veterans programs and support new partnerships with charities and veterans’ service organizations. The bill also creates a voluntary check-off mechanism on driver’s license renewals and vehicle registrations for motorists to donate to the fund and offers a special veterans’ license plate for both veterans and motorists who wish to honor veterans.

Senate Bill 1255, also known as the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act (UMOVA), sponsored by Sen. Bob Robbins (R-Butler/Crawford/Lawrence/Mercer), provides states with the ability to extend to military and overseas civilian voters some of the accommodations given for federal elections by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA) and its amendment, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act of 2009 (MOVE).

Legislation was approved to provide the first update to the Pennsylvania Code of Military Justice (PCMJ) in nearly 40 years. Sponsored by Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango), PCMJ enforces order and discipline upon the Pennsylvania National Guardsmen who are not in active federal service. Senate Bill 1442 also establishes a State Military Justice Fund to pay expenses incurred in the administration of military justice and funded by fees and other monies paid to the Commonwealth under the PCMJ.

“Pennsylvanians are justifiably proud of the many citizens who have served our country, and of their incredible devotion to duty,” said Turzai. “We need to be equally proud that we properly honor our commitments to these brave men and women.”

State Representative Mike Turzai
28th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner
Deputy Press Secretary
rleiner@pahousegop.com
717.260.6437
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