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Hochul signs new legislation to support veterans and families

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In a significant move to support military veterans and their families, Governor Kathy Hochul has signed a series of new bills into law ahead of Veterans Day, her office announced on Friday. These laws aim to enhance benefits and ease access to various services for veterans and members of Gold Star families across New York.

The new legislation includes several key provisions to aid veterans. It redefines the term ‘veteran’ for tax purposes to encompass career members of the armed forces, ensuring broader eligibility for exemptions. Additionally, the laws grant free access to state parks, historic sites, and recreational facilities for veterans and Gold Star family members. They also mandate targeted marketing by the Empire State Development Corporation’s small business revolving loan fund towards veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned enterprises.

Moreover, the laws address housing and employment challenges faced by veterans. They require transparency in the Mitchell-Lama housing application process, specifically regarding veteran applicants, and remove the ‘wartime service’ requirement for certain civil service roles, expanding job opportunities for more veterans. The legislation also introduces VIP NY, a veteran internship program, allocating 10% of internships in state legislature programs to honorably discharged veterans.

Governor Hochul emphasized the state’s gratitude and commitment to its veterans. “This legislation will provide resources and support to New York’s veterans, honoring their service and recognizing their heroism,” she stated. The New York State Department of Veterans’ Services, serving as the advocacy agency for veterans since 1945, will continue to offer additional support to veterans and their families under these new laws.