BOSTON – Senator Brian A. Joyce joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate to pass a wide-ranging set of protections and services for veterans. The VALOR Act II is a unification of 14 separate bills addressing veterans’ issues that include tax breaks, employment opportunities, educational assistance, and more.
“While it’s a wide-ranging piece of legislation, it ultimately continues our dedication to assisting our veterans with employment and educational opportunities upon their return from service,” said Joyce. “The Commonwealth has always been a national leader in the treatment of veterans and this legislation continues that leadership and illustrates how these issues transcend party and politics.”
The bill will allow veterans enrolled in college to delay their coursework without penalty and with a full refund if called to active duty, it will double the buffer zone around military funerals to 1,000 feet, and it will extend the property tax discount to veterans who volunteer in their community to include spouses. It will also:
- Establish a home modification program for disabled veterans;
- Create a special commission to establish a state Office of Veterans’ Employment and Business Assistance;
- Establish a Service Member Post-Deployment Council to recommend support programs for veterans transitioning to civilian life;
- Craft guidance for hospitals and ambulance providers to identify veterans and service members in order to treat veterans with “unique mental health triggers”;
- Enact protections for private employers who offer preference hiring for veterans or spouses of fully disabled veterans; and
- Waive application fees for veterans seeking professional licenses or certifications.
Additionally a bill sponsored by Senator Joyce (S.867) which prevents employment discrimination based on veteran status was recently passed by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.