Several New Laws in Place to Assist Veterans and Military Families
HARRISBURG – Sen. Lisa Baker has announced improvements to programs and services supporting veterans and military families, and honoring their incredible efforts to protect their fellow citizens.
“Those in the military know there is always something more that can be done to prepare for a mission,” Baker said. “And there is always something more the state can do to make sure those who are serving, and those who have served, are not forgotten.”
One new law expands access to prescription drug assistance by removing the value of service-connected disability payments from income eligibility for the PACE and PACENET programs.
Another improves and expands veterans’ courts across the state. These courts have seen great success with extremely low recidivism rates here in Pennsylvania and across the nation. By encouraging counties to partner on regional efforts, or offer a ‘veterans track’ under other problem-solving courts, we can provide mentorship and treatment for underlying problems veterans are experiencing.
Updates to the veteran’s preference law will help ensure veterans receive proper credit for their skills and experience when applying for certain jobs, and also allow for the transfer of veterans’ preference to spouses.
The Military Family Relief Assistance Program provides $3,500 in financial assistance to service members and families during times of hardship. Baker, who serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, advanced legislation to preserve the program indefinitely to continue giving a helping hand to military families in need.
“This program has proved its worth time and again,” Baker said. “We can see the public support by the dollars voluntary put in through donations to the Veterans’ Trust Fund.”
A new law will require the POW/MIA flag to be displayed on state-owned properties, including roadside rest stops and welcome centers. The flag is both a reminder of the 1,602 Americans listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War and a symbol of the sacrifices made by service members and their families.
“Those defending freedom heed the call of duty,” Baker added. “We must be just as vigilant in working to support our veterans.”