Virginia Strives To Be Military Friendly

With over 320,000 active duty military stationed in Virginia and another 800,000 plus retirees scattered throughout the Commonwealth it makes good sense for our Governor and Representatives to enact legislation to support military families. During the recent legislative session Governor McDonnell signed into law 25 bills aimed at making life for military and veterans in Virginia easier.

Here is a summary of some of those bills from the 2011 Legislative Session:

– SB 0959 (Northam)/HB 1719 (Massie) – Provides to a veteran or his/her spouse, free of charge, one copy of vital record, if that record is to be used in the determination of eligibility for state or federal veterans benefits.

– SB892 (Wampler)/HB 1761 (Cox, K.) – Permits the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management to offer voluntary TRICARE supplement health coverage under the Commonwealth’s IRC Section 125 cafeteria plan.

– SB1361 (Stosch)/HB 1862 (Cosgrove) – Extends the expiration of certain licenses, certifications, registrations or other documents held by the spouse of a service member when stationed overseas.

– SB824 (Edwards)/HB1861 (Anderson) – Increases educational opportunity for veterans by waiving the one-year residency requirement needed to qualify for in-state tuition rates.

– SB 986 (Locke)/HB1697 (Athey) – Exempts Department of Veterans Services facilities from certificate of public need requirements.

– SB 958 (Miller, JC)/HB1666 (Cole & Watts) – Removes the requirement for the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services to establish a Department of Veterans Services Advisory Committee.

– SB 1296 (Ruff)/HB 2041 (Anderson) – Allows any commission created by executive order to study and make recommendations concerning the prevention of closure and realignment of federal security installations in Virginia to withhold from public disclosure certain records relating to the relocation of national security facilities.

– HB 1976 (Greason) – Adds a citizen member to the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

– HB1557 (Cox, K)/SB1399 (Locke) – Maintains a ratio of one staff person at the Department of Veterans Services for every 26,212 veterans residing in the Commonwealth.

– SB910 (Herring) – Allows deployed military parents to delegate their visitation rights with children to a member of their family while they are stationed overseas.

– HB1858 (Anderson)/SB886 (Martin/Vogel) – Changes the duration of a temporary voter registration due to military service.

– HB2415 (Armstrong) – Establishes a special discounted hunting license for resident and nonresident veterans who have a service-connected disability.

– HB1535 (Merricks) – Allows the Board of Medicine or Board of Nursing to consider military training and experience for certain licensures.

– HB2279 (Keam) – Requires the Commissioner of Health to consider relevant military experience, education, and training completed by an applicant for certification as emergency medical services personnel; provides that the Commissioner may accept such experience, education, and training as satisfying the requirements for certification; and requires the Board of Health to establish criteria for determining when an applicant’s experience, education and training satisfies the requirements for certification.

As a Realtor® and surviving spouse I hope the Governor and our elected officials continue to strive to make life easier for military families in Virginia. Whether they are here for a short tour to attend Command and Staff College at Quantico, a three year tour at Fort Belvoir or decide to retiree or join the civilian contractor world, military families are important to our Virginia businesses and communities.

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