Every year, we set aside an important day – Memorial Day – to pay tribute to those in the Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the United States safe and free.
Like most Americans, it fills me with a sense of tremendous respect and gratitude to think of the men and women who have lost their lives fighting for our country. Their brave sacrifices are the epitome of selflessness, and they must never be forgotten.
While we remember those who have given their lives in service to our great country, it’s also important that we support our veteran community as they transition from military service back to civilian life. According to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 21 million veterans in the United States and more than 450,000 live in Indiana.
This year, the Indiana General Assembly passed several bills aimed at helping Hoosier veterans.
Indiana’s new biennial budget, House Enrolled Act 1001, includes substantial investments in supporting our veteran community, including:
$600,000 to hire six new state veteran service officers;
$2 million to fight veteran homelessness and support veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
Nearly $2 million for Veterans Service Organizations to improve support for veterans seeking benefits; and
An increase in the military retirement income tax deduction.
Senate Enrolled Act 307 requires the Department of Workforce and Development to give veterans and their spouses priority when applying for state or federal jobs or training programs.
Senate Enrolled Act 382 allows the spouse of a deceased veteran to request that designation be included on his or her driver’s license or identification card, and House Enrolled Act 1394 prohibits local governments from charging veterans or their spouses the fees associated with business or professional licenses.
I’m hopeful these new laws will provide meaningful support for our veterans and help express our appreciation for their sacrifices.
This year, as we celebrate the Memorial Day holiday with our family and friends, let us take time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, and renew our commitment to supporting those who continue to serve today.
As always, I welcome your input on this topic or others. My office can be reached by phone at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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