Regan Veterans Court Measure Heads to Governor
HARRISBURG – This week, the Senate passed a number of bills to support Pennsylvania’s Veteran population, according to Senator Mike Regan, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee.
SB 976, sponsored by Regan and approved on Wednesday, would place Veterans Courts into State law, encourage counties to partner on Regional Veterans Courts, and provide an option for a ‘Veterans Track’ within a county’s problem-solving court.
“Last year, I held roundtable discussions on the very serious issue of Veterans suicide,” said Sen. Regan. “One of the recommendations supported throughout each, was for more Veterans Courts. These problem-solving courts assist Veterans who find themselves in trouble with the law as a result of service-related issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries. This measure aims to provide counties with options for establishing these courts – without a mandate – all in an effort to do right by our Veterans and ultimately to save lives.”
SB 952, also sponsored by Regan, received final passage on Tuesday. This legislation updates Pennsylvania’s Veterans’ Preference Law, which provides a hiring preference to qualified Veterans seeking public employment in line with skills and experience obtained during their military training. The bill makes several changes such as clarifying the transfer of Veterans Preference to spouses and allowing those transitioning from military service or in the Reserves or National Guard to receive Veterans Preference.
“Over the past several years, the General Assembly has updated and modernized our state’s civil service laws,” said Sen. Regan. “Today, I am pleased that we can also update our Veteran’s Preference Law,” which will continue to provide our Veterans with a benefit that they have earned.”
SB 1076, passed on Wednesday, would reauthorize the Military Family Relief Assistance Program. This program provides financial assistance in the form of a grant – up to $3,500 – to eligible service members or their family during a time of hardship arising from active duty.
“This important program has helped service members and their families in a variety of situations, from a simple unexpected cost of childcare to helping restore the livelihood of a family member during a time of crisis, while on active duty service,” said Sen. Regan.
HB 86 and SB 395, both passed on Wednesday, promote the Prisoner of War/ Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Flag. HB 86 requires the POW/MIA flag to be flown whenever the U.S. flag is displayed on any ground or building owned by the Commonwealth. SB 395 requires the display of the official Prisoner of War/ Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Flag in Soldier’s Grove at the Capitol, at all roadside rest stops and welcome centers operated by the PA Department of Transportation, as well as at PA Turnpike service plazas.
“It is so important that we not only continue to remember our Veterans, but our soldiers that have not returned,” said Sen. Regan. “I am looking forward to seeing the POW/MIA flag flown high at each of these areas and hopefully it will lead to even more flags flown for these unforgotten heroes.”
HB 375, also passed on Wednesday, would exclude the value of a Veteran’s federal disability payments and the value of all state service-connected payments from income eligibility calculations for the PACE and PACENET programs.
“Our disabled Veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation,” said Sen. Regan. “This is yet another measure through which we can demonstrate our support for them.”
CONTACT: Nathan Silcox, 717-787-8524, firstname.lastname@example.org