October 10, 2013
Boston – Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) voted today to pass legislation extending additional benefits to veterans, active-duty military, and their families. This legislation provides educational and employment opportunities, financial benefits, and new health initiatives to support the Commonwealth’s veterans. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate.
“I am pleased to join with my colleagues in offering these new supports for the Commonwealth’s veterans,” said Senator Ross. “With Veterans’ Day around the corner, now is an excellent time to honor those brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation. I hope that these benefits will provide some relief to those who have served so bravely on behalf of our freedom and safety.”
Senator Ross was pleased to see three of his amendments included in the final bill, including an amendment establishing a study to examine the feasibility of providing a fee waiver for disabled veterans seeking to record a declaration of homestead. Senator Ross also amended the bill to mandate that all veterans-related commission reports be posted online.
“I am so pleased to see this amendment adopted because it is imperative that we enhance the transparency and accountability in our commission reporting system,” said Senator Ross. “Making these reports available to the public will better educate the public on these important issues, and facilitate a more open dialogue with our constituents.”
Pursuant to the bill, students enrolled in college will not be penalized for performing military service while enrolled. Students will be allowed to postpone their courses or receive a full refund of fees and tuition upon withdrawing from the course. The bill also allows veterans applying for professional licenses or certifications in the Commonwealth to receive a waiver of application fees.
The legislation also focuses on extending health-related opportunities for veterans, including launching a veterans’ home modification program to help disabled veterans become better able to function independently. The bill also requires that the Department of Public Health (DPH) provide guidance to hospitals and ambulance service providers to aid them in recognizing veterans, so that they may be offered all available resources and supports.
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.