Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) announced the State Senate passed eight bills designed to assist military veterans and to recognize them for their service to our country.
"The men and women who have selflessly and bravely served in the military deserve all the benefits our State can afford," Valesky said. "These measures give thanks to our veterans and give them some of the recognition they deserve."
One of the most important measures will help Vietnam veterans receive high school diplomas based on knowledge and experience gained while in service. "Too many of our veterans left school to serve and didn't have an opportunity to get their diploma when they returned from service," Valesky said. "This acknowledges the vast knowledge and experience they gained from military service and allows them to apply it towards their diploma requirements."
Another measure allows soldiers who have fought in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan to receive the veterans' alternative property tax exemption and allows local governments to accept late applications for the exemption when property owners were on active duty. "We provide these property tax exemptions to our veterans to thank and reward them for their service," Valesky said. "It is only right that we do all we can to ensure that soldiers fighting the war against terrorism also receive this exemption."
A measure also allows for expanded benefits to New York's military personnel and their families. Eligible survivors of all public employees who are killed while serving on active duty will be entitled to the same health insurance coverage and death benefits as theywould if the public employeewas killed while working as a public employee. In addition, this legislation allows for the reimbursement of life insurance premiums to members of the New York State organized militia while such members are in non-training active service.
Two of the measures allow distinctive license plates for honorably discharged Persian Gulf veterans and for recipients of the Bronze Star or Silver Star, and another would exempt military service flags, prisoner of war flags and blue star banners from sales taxes.
"Those who protect our Democracy deserve our thanks every day," Valesky said. "By enacting these bills we show our gratitude, acknowledge our debt and demonstrate our appreciation."