#TBT: House committee dedicated to honoring Michigan’s veterans

Categories: Blog Features,Initiatives,Jobs,Reinventing MI,Rendon Photos,Veterans

In this week’s edition of #ThrowbackThursday, we are taking a closer look at the accomplishments of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. During the 2013-14 legislative session, House Republicans were dedicated to helping veterans returning from combat and former active duty service members alike – and the results from this committee speak for themselves.

A recent news article talked about all the positive work the Legislature has done for Michigan’s 660,000 veterans. And while House Republicans are proud of all our accomplishments, there is something extra special about making life better for those who sacrifice so much.

Since the start of 2013, the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee has considered – and passed – legislation to:

Create a new Veterans Affairs Agency

  • The Legislature provided $11.5 million (over the ‘13 and ‘14 budgets) in new funding for the creation of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.  The agency will assist in ensuring veterans are connected with vital benefits and services.
  • $2.2M was recommended by the Governor for FY 2015/16 to specifically support the agency costs and growth.
  • Grand Rapids and D.J. Jacobetti Veterans’ Homes: Over $2 million invested in nursing care and maintenance.
  • Armories: Over $7 million invested in armory maintenance.

Include a Veterans Designation on state IDs

  • House Bill 4037 and Senate Bill 219 allow veterans to receive a veteran designation on their driver’s license or state ID card.

Create Recreation Passports

  • HBs 4297 and 4439 provide for free Recreation Passports for disabled veterans, former POWs, and Medal of Honor recipients.

Reduce tax burdens for some veterans

  • SB 352 fully exempts the principal residence of a disabled veteran, and their surviving spouses, from property taxes.

Get our veterans back to work

These brave men and women put their lives on hold to serve their nation and deserve whatever breaks we can provide them. –State Rep. Rick Outman-Six Lakes.
  • HBs 4605, 4731, 4752, 4754, and 4756 provide an expedited licensing process for veterans who pursue a career as an EMT, firefighter, boiler operator, mechanical contractor, or residential home builder. These bills also waived the initial license or application fee for the service member. (Now law)
  • SB 671 waives initial license or application fees under the License Fee Act for over 20 occupations, including residential builders, IMG_4699architect, professional engineer, and public accountant. (Passed the Senate and House Military and Veteran Affairs Committee)
  • SB 672 waives initial fees for private security guard license for applicant that has military experience as a security guard. (Passed the Senate and House Military and Veteran Affairs Committee)
  • HB 5248 waives initial fees for dental assistants for an applicant that served in the military as a dental specialist. (Passed by House Military and Veteran Affairs Committee)
  • SBs 741-42 allow the state to grant a temporary occupational license and a health profession licensing board to grant a temporary license to people licensed in another jurisdiction who are married to an active duty member of the armed forces assigned to a duty station in Michigan. (Currently in House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee)

Create more educational opportunities

  • HB 5035 would require community colleges to ask if the applicant is a veteran or active member or the military or reserve. HB 5036 would require the college, following the application process, to evaluate the transcript and inform the applicant of credits already met because of their military training. (Before House Military and Veteran Affairs Committee)
  • (Now Law) SB 389 allows veterans who did not complete high school due to serving in the Vietnam War era to be awarded a high school diploma.
 This program is needed to help members of the Michigan National Guard pay for higher education and is a way we can say thanks for their service to our country. Now, more service people will be able to stay here and call Michigan home. —State Rep. Franz, R-Onekama.

Connect veterans with their benefits

  • HBs 5529-35 will help provide better access to benefits for Michigan veterans. (Currently in the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee)

VetBillSign_Franz_0714_14The House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee has seen a few dozen bills already reach the floor – including a handful that have made it to the governor’s desk as well – and the committee’s work is far from over.

As we gear up for the last part of the legislative session, it’s great to look back at what the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee has accomplished in a little over a year. In Michigan, we are ensuring that our veterans receive more than a thank you – we are working to give them a brighter future.