Boston (WWLP) - The Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved the Valor Act II, an expansion of last year’s Valor Act that provides services for veterans and their family members. The bill consolidates 14 different proposals into one.
“Steps that we’re taking here build on the first Valor Act, they build on the Welcome Home bonuses that we give out veterans, trying to better coordinate the services and the care we provide to them,” said Sen Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield).
The bill allows veterans in college who are called away on active duty to delay their coursework without penalty or withdraw from courses and get a full refund of tuition and fees; It creates a home modification program for disabled vets; And allows them to obtain professional licenses or certifications in Massachusetts based on skills they’ve learned in the military.
Sen. Stephen Brewer (D) Barre: We want to make sure that they are allowed to maintain those licenses without having to go through all kinds of encumbrances to be certified. If you can do it for the United State of America and for the defense of our country, you can certainly do it for the citizens of Massachusetts.
Under the legislation, interruption free zones around military funerals will be double to 1,000 feet. It expands property tax discounts that are offered to veterans who volunteer in the community to their spouses if they die or are disabled.
“Here in Massachusetts we’ve been the leader really across the country to provide benefits to out returning veterans as they come home,” said Sen. James Welch (D-West Springfield).
The bill now heads to the Massachusetts House for a vote. State lawmaker aim to have the Valor Act II bill on the governor’s desk in time for Veterans Day on November 11.