Governor Kathy Hochul today signed seven pieces of legislation that aim to provide resources and support to veterans and their families. These bills build upon this administration’s dedication to acknowledging the sacrifices made by veterans and ensuring they can return to their civilian lives more easily.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the veterans who risked their lives to serve our country,” Governor Hochul said. “This legislation will provide resources and support to New York’s veterans, honoring their service and recognizing their heroism.”
S.7461/A.3381A clarifies the definition of veteran to include career members of the armed forces for tax exemption purposes. This bill updates the law to reflect current military practices and to create an incentive to keep career members of the military here in New York.
Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton said, “Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing these significant pieces of legislation that will support our veterans and their families. You can be assured that as Chair of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, I will continue to work to make sure effective legislation is passed for our New York State veterans and will always fight for them how they fought for us.”
Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, “An active-duty sailor who lives in my district made me aware of a change in the military’s tour discharge paperwork that effected their eligibility for the Veteran’s Property Tax Exemption. I am grateful to the governor for signing my bill which now includes career military service members in our state’s veteran’s tax exemption law. Ensuring our veteran’s tax exemption law better reflects current military practices helps further express our gratitude for their service to our country and for making New York State their home.”
S.3309A/A.6084A will allow, beginning on April 1, 2024, residents who are veterans and members of a Gold Star family free access to State parks, historic sites, and recreational facilities in New York State.
State Senator James Skoufis said, “The unwavering commitment of our veterans is a testament to their enduring love for country. In providing no-cost access to our state parks and recreational areas, we honor not only their service but their right to cherish precious times with loved ones amidst the very landscapes they valiantly defended. I thank Governor Hochul for signing our legislation into law which extends this privilege to more than half a million veterans and Gold Star families.”
Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, “Today, as a state, we can begin to thank and give back to our veterans and Gold Star families for all that they have done for us. Allowing veterans and Gold Star families free access to our New York State Parks will provide them with outdoor spaces to spend time with loved ones and take in the natural beauty of New York State. As the chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I am proud to sponsor this legislation, and I applaud Governor Hochul for signing this into law.”
S.1671A/A.6140A requires the small business revolving loan fund within New York’s Empire State Development Corporation, to market to veteran-owned enterprises and service-disabled veteran-owned enterprises.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. said, “This new law is a testament to our unwavering commitment to supporting veterans and their entrepreneurial spirit. By requiring the small business revolving loan fund in the Empire State Development Corporation to specifically target and market to veteran-owned enterprises and service-disabled veteran-owned enterprises, we are ensuring that these brave men and women receive the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed in the business world. Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation, and it’s only fitting that we provide them with the support they need to thrive in the civilian sector. I truly appreciate Governor Hochul signing my bill and I am honored to have played a part in championing this legislation, now looking forward to witnessing the positive impact it will have on our veteran community.”
S.2372/A.1084 requires that the number of applicants applying as veterans, or a surviving spouse of a veteran, be made available on the Mitchell-Lama application waitlist so that those applying have a clear indication of whether there are other veterans applying for the same housing.
State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said, “Freedom is not free. These critical pieces of legislation honor our commitment to the brave individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given so much to protect our country and our freedoms. The financial, societal, physical, and emotional costs of serving are lifelong – and we must do all that we can to ensure our veterans and their families receive the comprehensive support they deserve to lead their lives with dignity, stability, and opportunities to thrive upon returning home. S2372 will require the publication of the number of veterans or surviving spouses of veterans on certain housing waiting lists and support veterans in making informed decisions about where to apply for housing. With the signing of this legislation, we are taking another step forward to fulfill our promise to our veterans.”
Assemblymember Latrice Walker said, “It is important to not only acknowledge with our words the sacrifices of military veterans and their families, but also to follow through with our actions. The signing of this package of bills will improve the quality of life for veterans — a fitting tribute to the nearly one million people who served our country and now live in New York State. As we express our gratitude for their service on Veterans Day, we must also commit ourselves to protecting their access to vital services that will ease their transition to civilian life. Thank you to Gov. Hochul and my fellow lawmakers for their support of A1084, a bill I was proud to sponsor. The new law will make public the number of military veterans and spouses applying for Mitchell-Lama housing, which will help our heroes make informed decisions about housing. Thank you to all who have served for your dedication to our country. Happy Veterans Day.”
S.454A/A.3116A directs counties and the city of New York to contact a veterans’ organization to collect any unclaimed remains of a deceased veteran if they do not have any next of kin or other designee to provide for their disposition. This legislation ensures all who serve our county are given a proper interment.
Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “The men and women who served and sacrificed are deserving of a respectful burial. It is important for our community to appropriately recognize our veterans and I am pleased my colleagues joined me in supporting this bill and grateful Governor Hochul has signed it.”
Assemblymember Pamela Hunter said, “Every Veteran’s Day we take a moment to acknowledge and commend the many veterans who have sacrificed for our country. In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that we did not do everything we could have to support our veterans when they returned from service. As a veteran myself, I understand many of the struggles our veterans go through, but also understand each veteran has unique experiences and challenges. On this Veteran’s Day, I would like to thank Governor Hochul for signing this slate of veteran legislation, including the bill I sponsored that ensures unclaimed veteran remains are given a proper burial. Veterans diligently gave themselves for our country and it is the absolute least we can do to make sure veteran remains are not left to sit on shelves indefinitely. Enacting this law is the right thing to do and I look forward to enabling our many veteran organizations to work with funeral homes to give veterans the burial services that they deserve.”
S.7378/A.7379 eliminates the “wartime service” requirement that prohibits a large number of interested veterans from seeking employment in certain civil service roles, expanding the application pool.
Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato said, “Veterans served our country and through this legislation we acknowledge all Veterans for their service and ensure that our heroes have a job to come home to, along with the respect and dignity they deserve. I appreciate Governor Hochul signing this bill into law which removes the “wartime service” requirement for civil service jobs in the 55-C program, opening a new path for employment opportunities to many more Veterans.”
S.291/A.1347 establishes VIP NY, a veteran internship program that will award ten percent of available internships in the Assembly Youth Participation program and the Senate Student Program to eligible honorably discharged veterans.
State Senator Jim Tedisco said, “What a fantastic Veterans Day present for our real American heroes: New York’s veterans! I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing the Veterans Internship Program bill into law to give our unemployed and underemployed veterans a bird’s eye view of the government they sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears, and in some cases, nearly their own lives to protect. The Veterans Internship Program will provide significant work experience for our veterans to put on their resumes for future long-term employment and it sends the message that our state government truly values the service of our veterans in deeds as well as words.”
This legislation package builds upon Governor Hochul’s efforts to expand veteran services and support resources and to further acknowledge the sacrifices made by those who have served. Earlier this week, the Governor honored veterans with the year’s sixth and final Free Fishing Day of 2023. Last week, Governor Hochul announced the completion of Northside Village in Schenectady, a public housing revitalization that includes 61 units with supportive services for veterans and individuals with physical disabilities.
In September, Governor Hochul announced the award of nearly $4 million in federal funding to expand and improve the New York State Veterans Cemetery – Finger Lakes, the first veterans cemetery owned and operated by New York State.
Veterans in New York State may find more support through the New York State Department of Veterans’ Services, which has served as the state’s advocacy agency for veterans, service members, and military families since 1945. The Department maintains an agency-wide commitment of serving all veterans, service members, and military families in a wide range of practice areas, including claims and appeals for benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, discharge upgrade appeals to the United States Department of Defense, and claims for New York State benefits. Veterans, service members, and military families are encouraged to contact the Department at 888-838-7697 or its website veterans.ny.gov to meet — in person or virtually — with an accredited Veterans Benefits Advisor to address their needs and gain the full measure of benefits that they have earned. Follow DVS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.