BENEFITS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES

By Bob Katzen

The House 153-0, Senate 39-0, approved and sent to Gov. Baker legislation that would support military families who relocate to the Bay State by providing career stability for the spouses of service members and education for their children.

Provisions include making it easier for military personnel and their spouses who move to the Bay State to get a Massachusetts professional license, if their job requires one, so that they can continue their civilian careers and provide for their families without interruption; requiring the Commissioner of Education to issue a military spouse a valid certificate for teaching if he or she holds a valid teaching license from another state; allowing children of military members to register and enroll in a school district at the same time it is open to the general population by waiving the proof of residency requirement until the student actually begins school; creating a purple-star campus designation for certain schools that are military-kid friendly and show a major commitment to students and families connected to the nation’s military; and requiring that a child or spouse of an active-duty service member in Massachusetts continue to pay the in-state, less expensive tuition rate at state universities even if the service member is assigned to move out of the state.

“Our veterans are the best and bravest among us, and while we can never truly repay them for their service to this country, veterans are more than deserving of continued support from those in public office,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). “I’m proud that today, with the best interest of our veterans in mind, the Legislature passed legislation that responds to immediate needs in the veteran community such as access to school enrollment for military families that have recently relocated to Massachusetts, and that establishes health education awareness programs and additional acknowledgements of military service, among other provisions.”

“The [bill] is a momentous piece of legislation that that will improve the lives of every single service-member, veteran and military family member who resides in our state, now and in the future,” said Sen. John Velis (D-Westfield), the Senate Chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “The legislation supports our military families in their transition to Massachusetts, introduces new benefits and services for veterans and National Guard members, and expands the ways our commonwealth recognizes the sacrifices of those who have served.”

“The Legislature has made veterans issues a priority from the start of the session,” said Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham), House Chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “ It’s a great honor to chair the Veterans Committee and bring a great deal of pride to the House as we continue the commonwealth’s long history of recognizing veterans and their families.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill).

Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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