BOSTON – The Massachusetts State Senate unanimously passed new legislation that will expand benefits and increase access to a range of services for veterans, active-duty military and their families.
Entitled “The Brave Act”, the legislation included a provision filed by State Senator Ryan C. Fattman (R-Sutton) that protects veteran workers. The amendment adds employment protections for veterans who wish to observe, participate in ceremonies, or be granted a leave of absence in the work place on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.
“It may come as a shock to people that veteran’s weren’t legally entitled to take the day off to observe the commitment their fellow men and women made in serving our country. As the brother to a current service member, I believe this is the least we can do out of respect for the sacrifices made by generations of Americans,” said Fattman.
“I am pleased that the final version of the BRAVE Act included Senator Fattman’s provision to provide time off for veterans for Memorial and Veterans Day so they can take part in ceremonies in their communities,” said Senator Mike Rush (Chair, Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs). “This is one way we can honor those who sacrifice for us and those that provide the freedoms we so often take for granted.”
The bill also grants paid military leave for those called to duty by the armed forces for up to 40 days for training and operation purposes.
To help ease the costs of housing, the legislation changes the requirement for veterans to receive property tax exemptions from residing in the Commonwealth for five years down to two years. It also increases the amount a veteran can earn on their property tax exemption for volunteering in their city or town.
The BRAVE Act also increases the burial expense paid by commonwealth from $2,000 to $4,000 for indigent veterans to receive to adequately provide for a dignified funeral. It also exempts any veterans who receive annuities for service to their country from income calculations when applying for state programs or services.
The bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, is the legislature’s latest effort to support veterans, military members and their families.
For more information on the bill, please contact Senator Fattman’s office at 617-722-1420.