BENEFITS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES

By Bob Katzen

Governor Baker signed into law 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.

“The [measure] is a truly momentous bill and I am thrilled that the governor has signed it into law for our service members, veterans and military families,” said Sen. John Velis (D-Westfield), the Senate Chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “From supporting our military families in their transition to Massachusetts, to creating new benefits and services for veterans and National Guard members, this law will ensure that Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in taking care of our service members and their families.”

“This is a historic bill,” said Major General Gary Keefe, Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard. “This is most likely the most encompassing military and veterans bill passed in the commonwealth in the last century. This bill recognizes both the sacrifice of our military service members, as well as veterans and their families, and it establishes programs that will recruit and retain service members, attract future military missions and continue to provide for our growing veteran population. This bill will make it clear to every state in the republic that Massachusetts is unmatched in its care and support of its military members, veterans, and their families.”

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