Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee Approves Five Measures

The Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee approved five measures today, according to Committee Chairman Senator Randy Vulakovich.

Senate Bill 575, introduced by Senator Andrew Dinniman, would allow volunteer fire companies to use funds they receive from the State Fire Relief Program to establish Length of Service Award Programs, a system to provide tax-deferred income benefits to active volunteer members of a fire service.

“Across the Commonwealth, volunteer fire companies are having difficulty recruiting and retaining volunteers,” said Sen. Vulakovich.  “This legislation would provide a source of funding for the establishment of a key retention tool.”

Senate Bill 933, introduced by Senator Lisa Baker, directs any fines collected as a result of a violation of Pennsylvania’s “Stolen Valor” statute to the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund.

“Last year, the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law legislation that makes it an offense to wear a uniform and insignia in order to misrepresent one’s military service or honors,” said Sen. Vulakovich.  “This legislation would redirect any future fines from this offense into the State Veterans Trust Fund — for real veterans in need of assistance.”

Senate Bill 1079, sponsored by Senator Michele Brooks, makes online training more readily available to current and prospective firefighters.

“Training to become a volunteer firefighter is not easy,” said Sen. Vulakovich.  “Providing them with online training – where possible – will help make it easier.”

Senate Resolution 394, introduced by Senator Pat Browne, designates Pennsylvania as a Purple Heart State and recognizing August 7, 2018, as “Purple Heart Day” in Pennsylvania.

“The Purple Heart is a Combat Decoration and it is our nation’s oldest military medal – created in 1782 by General George Washington,” said Sen. Vulakovich.  “By designating Pennsylvania a ‘Purple Heart State’ will help draw more attention to the men and women who were wounded or died in combat.”

House Bill 980, introduced by Representative Karen Boback, excludes all veterans’ benefit payments from income limitation calculations for any state program, such as PACE and PACENET.

“This legislation is one more way we can thank a veteran – particularly a disabled veteran – by making them eligible for important state programming, without including their veterans benefits as a part of their income,” said Sen. Vulakovich.

Each of these measures now go before the full Senate for further consideration.

 

Contact:         Nate Silcox     (717) 787-6538                       nsilcox@pasen.gov