By Bob Katzen

The Senate approved 37-1 and sent to the House a bill that would expand benefits and increase access to a range of services for veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families.

Provisions include ensuring that public workers receive paid military leave for up to 40 days if they are away from their job and can’t perform their duties; allowing cities and towns to designate a reserved parking space for veterans at city and town halls; reducing from five years to two years the residency period required for some veteran’s property tax exemptions; and increasing coverage for funeral expenses for indigent veterans from $ 2,000 to 4,000.

“This omnibus veteran’s legislation encompasses some of the very best ideas presented by my colleagues in the Legislature and the veterans of the commonwealth to assist veterans and their families with employment protections, tax exemptions, burial expenses, court programs, medical care, and also continues to recognize those who serve and who have served,” said Sen. Mike Rush (D-Boston) the sponsor of the bill and the Senate Chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “We want to ensure that Massachusetts remains number one in the nation in providing for our veterans, men and women in uniform, and their families. This legislation goes a long way in accomplishing this goal.”

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