There’s a push by some lawmakers in New York to do more to help the Empire State’s veterans with securing jobs, housing, mental health care and other services.
In an announcement timed for Veterans’ Day, the state Senate’s Democratic minority plans to announce a series of bills Wednesday designed to link veterans to programs that ease the transition to civilian life and to reward them for their service.
One of the measures would create an employment website for veterans. Another would allow them to receive educational credits for military training and a third would create programs for veterans who are victims of sexual violence.
Others would change tax regulations to help senior veterans obtain a housing tax break and authorize state veterans benefits for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual service members who were discharged dishonorably before the repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers told The Associated Press each of the initiatives is designed to build on earlier programs to support the state’s approximately 800,000 former servicemen and women. She said that while ideally assisting veterans should be a federal matter, the state can do some “common-sense” things to ensure veterans have the tools they need to succeed once their military service is concluded.
“We owe it to them to ensure the state is doing everything it can,” said Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers. “New York can and should be a leader on this.”
The bills will be considered by the full Senate when it reconvenes along with the Assembly in January.
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