Albany, NY- The Senate Democratic Majority welcomed cadets and staff from the United State Military Academy, known more commonly as West Point, for the annual West Point Day. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins welcomed the West Point cadets and staff to the Senate Chamber and thanked them for their service to New York and the United States. Additionally, the State Senate passed several bills to help veterans more easily return to civilian life by better publicizing veterans’ service agencies and programs and highlighting state agency positions specifically designed to be filled by disabled veterans.
“As the daughter and sister of veterans, I am proud to welcome the cadets and educators of West Point and thank them for their commitment to ‘duty, honor, country,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Our state and nation owe service-members a debt of gratitude that can never truly be repaid. That is why the Senate Majority will continue to push for additional programs, support, and recognition of the unique job skills and training veterans have thanks to their service. I applaud Chair of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, Senator Brooks, and Senator Kaplan, who, through these bills, are helping more military families benefit from local veteran programs and employment opportunities as they rejoin civilian life.”
The legislation advanced by the Senate Majority includes:
· “55-c” Eligible Jobs Notifications: This bill, S.3300, introduced by the Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, Senator John Brooks, requires state agencies to prominently identify on any job posting that meets the requirements of section 55-c of the civil service law that such job is "55-c Eligible." The 55-c program allows state agencies to set aside certain state positions, which are to be filled by disabled veterans but is not currently being fully utilized.
· Veterans Service Information: This bill, S.2405, introduced by Senator Anna Kaplan, requires the Division of Veterans’ Services to list information regarding the location and operating hours of local veterans’ service agencies on its website.
Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, Senator John Brooks, said, “It is fitting that as the State Senate celebrates ‘West Point Day’ and honors the cadets who are stepping up to be future leaders for our U.S. Army, we should also pass legislation that helps veterans as they transition back to civilian life. New York State has programs, such as 55-c, specifically designed to help veterans who were disabled as a result of their service. We need to ensure these programs are being well publicized by the state and fully utilized by the brave men and women who have given so much to our nation as service-members. I will keep working tirelessly to stand up for veterans and their families to ensure they receive the government support and programs they have earned.”
Bill Sponsor, Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “Navigating government services can often be difficult and confusing, so I am happy to find any way possible to make it easier for our constituents to access the services they need, particularly when it comes to our veterans. I’m proud to sponsor legislation to create an easy, up-to-date directory of local veterans’ service agencies, so that veterans can find the information they need easily and all in one place.”