Those who join the military knowingly sacrifice much of their lives to defend the freedoms the rest of us enjoy every day. Now, newly passed legislation will give these heroes many of the benefits they deserve.
The State Senate passed eleven pieces of legislation that will expand or launch new benefits programs for New Yorkers who fought for their country.
The legislation, sponsored by Senate President Malcolm A. Smith and co-sponsored by Senator Eric Adams (of Brooklyn) and Senator Andres Stuart-Cousins (of Westchester), will offer soldiers an array services and programs when the remaining nine bills pass the Assembly and are signed into law by the Governor. Two of the bills were signed by Governor Paterson on June 1.
The legislation approved by the Senate includes measures to:
? Establish a comprehensive, statewide program of services for disabled veterans.
? Extend access to housing assistance and Mitchell Lama affordable housing for disabled veterans.
? Allow military personnel deployed or scheduled for deployment to marry within 24-hours of receiving a marriage license.
? Authorize property tax exemptions for reservists.
? Permit veterans to transfer their property tax exemption when they move within the country.
? Allow both veterans to receive property tax exemptions when they live in the same household.
? Ensure members of the military receive absentee ballots in time to have their votes counted.
? Open the courts to veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
? Establish fishing events for vets and active duty military.
? Allow veterans to audit courses free at the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY).
Senator Malcolm A. Smith said that the benefits this legislation allots to servicemen and women symbolize the appreciation of all Americans.
“Current and former members of the military services are responsible for safeguarding the freedoms we all enjoy today,” said Smith. “The legislation we approved will improve the quality of life for those who have served in uniform. It is the least we can do for those who have protected us.”