As Ranking Minority Member of the Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) today joined with State Division of Veterans’ Affairs Director Colonel James McDonough and members of the bipartisan New York State Armed Forces Legislative Caucus to discuss legislative and outreach efforts to increase services for veterans across the state.
“There are very few individuals that have sacrificed and given more to ensure our protection, both our liberties and freedoms as well as our physical protection, than the courageous men and women who have served or are currently serving in our Armed Forces. It is vital that we return the favor; whether it be in terms of health or mental health care, surviving dependents benefits, or honoring their legacy, we must make our veterans a priority,” said the Assemblyman, who served seven years in the United States Army Reserves and Army National Guard.
Hawley has been an ardent advocate for veterans in the State Assembly and has helped to move meaningful legislation, including measures which honor the contribution of those who served in the Cold War Era, support disabled veteran-owned businesses, and creating and extending a Veterans Property Tax Exemption to include Korean War and War on Terror veterans. This year, Hawley is sponsoring a dozen pieces of legislation aimed specifically at improving the quality of life for veterans and their loved ones, and ensuring better services. Hawley’s legislation includes measures that would:
- Provide Scholarships for surviving dependent family members of New York State military personnel who have died while performing official military duties (A.4005);
- Authorize the State of New York Mortgage Agency to purchase veterans’ assisted forward commitment mortgages from banks within the state (A.4083);
- Create a list of suitable documentation that can be used by veterans applying for real property exemptions (A.4008);
- Create a Veteran’s Home and Land Ownership Loan Program (A.4081);
- Assist service-related disabled veterans under the Affordable Home Ownership Development Program (A.4080);
- Exempt compensation for active military service from inclusion in a resident’s adjusted gross income (A.4006);
- Establish the Patriot Family Support Fund and provide an income tax return check-off box therefore (A.4007);
- Provide a tax credit in the amount of certain fees charged in connection with loans under the Federal Home Loan Guarantee Program to National Guard and Reserve veterans (A.4009);
- Create a wage tax credit for employers who employ New York National Guard men and women, reservists, volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel (A.4010);
- Prohibit the increase of an employer’s rate of contribution to the unemployment insurance fund due to the deployment of an employee into active service in the National Guard of Armed Forces Reserves (A.4011); and
- Provide that the issue of military deployment shall not be considered as a factor in the awarding of custody in marital actions where a suitable child care plan is provided (A.4079).
Additionally, Assemblyman Hawley is announcing his annual veterans’ trip to Washington D.C. This year’s trip will take place from September 10, 2009 to September 13, 2009. Veterans and other interested parties should contact the Assemblyman’s district office, 585-589-5780, for more details or to RSVP.