Assemblyman Lavine Introduces New York Veterans’ Bill of Rights

February 29, 2008

Glen Cove – Charles D. Lavine introduced a bill known as the New York Veterans’ Bill of Rights (A.9951) on February 6, 2008.

Growing up in a family with a Gold Star Mother, Assemblyman Lavine believes we all have a responsibility to protect those who fight for our freedom. “I have introduced this bill because current Middle East deployments involve long and repeated tours and because the current federal administration fails to provide adequate services to our troops and their families,” Lavine said.

Assemblyman Lavine’s bill will support troops returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with the following provisions:

Iraq/ Afghanistan Theater Veterans Counseling: Designed to create a public/ private partnership to provide additional counseling services to the thousands of New Yorkers returning from the war and to their families who need treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and physical care;

National Guard and Reservists Financial Security Act: Active duty state and private employee veterans will be entitled to their full civilian pay during overseas deployment; for private employees, tax credits will be used to encourage employers to provide such compensation;

Educational Incentives: Those returning home from overseas deployment will be entitled to free tuition at New York’s public universities and community colleges. The spouses and children of our troops killed in action or seriously injured will share in this benefit;

Homeless Veterans: Recent news accounts report that the number of homeless vets is far greater than previously believed. The State Director of Veterans’ Affairs shall investigate and report annually on the actual number of homeless vets;

Veteran Suicides: The State Director shall also investigate and report annually on the actual number of Veterans committing suicide in New York.

“America is unique in that it has always been defended by civilian soldiers, whose valor and dedication have often been disdained by our enemies, much to their eventual dismay. Today’s wars again find our neighbors in the National Guard and Reserves, as well as our professional forces, in harm’s way,” states Lavine. “This bill is a step in the right direction in that it recognizes our Nation’s responsibility to protect our veterans.”

Already earning more than twenty-five co-sponsors, Lavine’s “New York Veterans’ Bill of Rights” has received wide support from both Majority and Minority Assemblymembers.