LEGISLATIVE GAZETTE: WEST POINT CADETS HONORED IN CAPITOL

 

    By Amanda Verrette

    In honor of West Point day last Thursday, the Legislature passed several bills protecting veteran’s rights and helping them obtain jobs. West Point day at the Capitol honored cadets and staff from the United States Military Academy at West Point and invited them to meet members of the Legislature.

    “We are so fortunate to have a renowned institution like West Point here in New York,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre. “As we meet cadets, we are reminded of the courage they and those who came before them have demonstrated to keep our country free.”

    The Senate bills passed include legislation sponsored by Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, that would protect the voting rights of veterans by requiring absentee or military ballots of any active duty member to be counted, even if the service member dies before the election.

    “Days after graduating [active duty service members] will be entrusted with the health and welfare of dozens of young men and women and we are proud to know that such a great trust placed in these young hands is well placed,” said Ball. “West Point, like all the service academies, represents the best in America.”

    Legislation (S.4262) sponsored by Sen. Lee Zelden, R-Shirley, also passed the Senate that would allow veterans who have “combat decorations” or awards to receive additional credit toward civil service employment.

    Disabled veterans would be entitled to receive ten additional points in competitive examinations for initial appointment and five additional points for a competitive examination for promotion. Non-disabled veterans would receive five points for initial appointment and 2.5 points for promotion.

    “If an American is willing to lay down their life in protection of our Constitution, freedoms and liberties,” said Zeldin, “these brave volunteers deserve to be protected during and after military service. This legislation provides employment opportunities for combat veterans who were exposed to great risk and danger.”

    Two other bills passed the Senate last Thursday that would provide veterans with additional credit towards civil service exams were sponsored by Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, (S.1311) and Sen. William Larkin, R-Cornwall, (S.3406).

    “Today’s legislation is our way of thanking our veterans for their service on behalf of our country,” said Larkin. “It will allow eligible veterans to receive the civil service exam credit they are entitled to and assist them in their employment efforts upon returning to civilian life.”

    Assembly members, including West Point’s Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, R-Blooming Grove, honored men and women in the Assembly Chamber last Thursday of the military academy who lived in their districts.

    “When we look at West Point we are looking at the pride of our country,” said Calhoun.