Gov. Strengthens Opportunities for Veterans

Gov. Strengthens Opportunities for Veterans

Wasilla, Alaska – July 29, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Sean Parnell signed legislation today strengthening veterans’ preferences for special loans, housing and employment.

Alaska statute currently defines the veterans’ preference for hiring as applying to those who have served up to the end of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Governor Parnell’s legislation ensures our veterans who have served in the 1991 Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and conflicts arising after September 11, 2001 can also benefit from the hiring preference. The governor’s bill provides statutory alignment with the federal definitions already used for public housing and mortgage loans.

“With more than 74,000 veterans calling Alaska home, our state has more veterans per capita than any other state,” Governor Parnell said. “In addition to our many veterans, Alaska is privileged to have nearly 25,000 active duty military members and their families in our state. We are honored to have these forces call Alaska home, and remain committed to supporting them and encouraging them to be an active part of our state for years after their military service ends.”

Governor Parnell’s legislation, Senate Bill 145, also implements provisions of the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act, providing additional tax and pension benefits to individuals who are absent from work due to duty in the uniformed military service. Additionally, it ensures that families of reservists who are killed in the line of duty receive the maximum survivor benefits by treating the deceased’s employment with the state as continuing up to the day before they were killed.

The governor also signed a resolution sponsored by Senator Charlie Huggins condemning the actions of Veterans Health Administration officials that prohibited religious holiday messages, music, and gifts from being conveyed to veterans at Veterans Health Administration facilities. Senate Joint Resolution 24 also requests the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs make certain the violations do not occur again.

Governor Parnell also signed House Bill 357 into law. Sponsored by Representative Dan Saddler, the bill amends club licensing statutes to allow spouses of active duty military members the privilege of buying alcoholic beverages at patriotic organizations licensed as a club. It allows a person under 21 years of age to enter a patriotic organization licensed as a club if they are a guest of a member and are on active duty in the military.

While in Wasilla, Governor Parnell signed several other pieces of legislation. The Winchester pre-1964 Model 70 is now the official state bolt-action rifle. Sponsored by Senator Charlie Huggins, the Winchester pre-1964 Model 70 rifle was selected because this particular bolt-action rifle helped Alaskans establish a firm foothold in the Alaska wilderness from the 1930s through 1963.

A bill protecting Alaskans from insurance coverage they do not want or need was also signed into law. Senate Bill 167 corrects a loophole in Alaska law that is harmful to consumers of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. The bill was sponsored by Senator Huggins.

Legislation was signed protecting consumer investment in their wireless communications device by insuring it against loss, theft, damage, and internal malfunction. Senate Bill 214 allows an unlicensed employee of a licensed insurance adjuster to enter claims information into an automated claims adjudication system for portable electronics insurance policy claims.

House Bill 255 sets standards for law enforcement agencies that operate unmanned aircraft systems to protect Alaskans’ privacy and safety. House Concurrent Resolution 15 extends the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force to June 30, 2017. The bill and resolution were sponsored by Representative Shelly Hughes.

Photos from the bill signing are available at:

http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/multimedia/photo-album.html?album=789

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