Protecting those who protect us: Sen. Richardville unveils comprehensive package to assist Michigan military personnel
LANSING-A group of state senators today announced a comprehensive legislative package to honor Michigan's military veterans who have served with honor and distinction in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Sen. Randy Richardville sponsored several measures in the 33-bill bipartisan, bicameral package.
"This legislation will help show our support for the Michigan men and women who have bravely served in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Richardville, R-Monroe. "It will acknowledge our veterans' service by making programs more readily available for mental health support, financial and economic incentives and educational opportunities."
He said a highlight of the economic incentives within the legislative package is to establish a "Michigan Patriot Business" designation for companies with at least a 50 percent ownership by an active service member or veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. would promote these businesses on its website and the Michigan Strategic Fund would maintain a list of the qualified businesses.
Richardville sponsored a resolution calling upon Congress to ensure that all members of the armed forces receive post deployment health assessments for possible post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Service members would continue to receive the assessments as they transition from active duty to civilian life or reserve duty.
Another Richardville bill will eliminate the one-time service fee for special registration of private passenger motor vehicles for veterans that are disabled or who have received honorable discharge. Subsequent registration plates and tabs would be free of charge.
"We owe our veterans a tremendous amount of gratitude for their services to our country," Richardville said. "We must support them as they come home and return to the workplace or the classroom. It is especially important that we provide help for those who have been injured while on duty."
Other bills in the package would:
Develop a Disabled Veteran Tuition Assistance program where disabled veterans would receive a tuition grant for a public university based on the percentage of their disability;
Increase veteran's preference in state purchasing from the current 3 percent to 5 percent of total expenditures for construction, goods and services;
Allow children of active military personnel who are transferred out of state to retain their in-state residency status for determining college tuition;
Permit spouses and children of an armed forces member stationed in Michigan to be considered a resident when determining college tuition;
Require public schools to provide excused absences to students participating in an event for their parents who are departing for active duty or returning from active duty;
Prohibit the lapse of life insurance policies for active duty military personnel; and
Safeguard the property of military personnel from sale, foreclosure or seizure of property for mortgage nonpayment while they are serving and for six months after they return from active duty.
The Senate Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs Committee will begin hearing testimony on the legislative package at its hearing on September 12.
Posted: Thursday, September 06, 2007
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