State Legislation Affecting Veterans in 2019
Most legislation affecting America’s veterans is debated and enacted at the federal level and through the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, states also enact laws that affect veterans. As you’ll see, some state legislation is better for veterans than others. Here are just a few examples of state legislation affecting veterans in 2019.
Red flag laws and veterans’ gun rights
Recent “Red Flag” legislation has raised concern among American veterans regarding gun confiscation. A red flag law is a gun-violence protection law that allows law enforcement and families to petition courts to remove firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or to themselves. For veterans, conditions such as PTSD could be used as a reason to confiscate their firearms. So far, fourteen states have enacted red flag legislation.
Virginia gives tax breaks to spouses of disabled veterans
In November of 2018, voters in Virginia passed a ballot measure that exempted the spouses of permanently disabled military veterans from paying property taxes. Virginia voters approved the measure by 85% to 15%, while both chambers of the Virginia legislature passed the law unanimously. According to experts, this could save 10,000 families of disabled veterans in Virginia an average of $1,700 in property taxes per year!
Indiana veterans fund reform
Last year, an Indiana grant program aimed at assisting struggling veterans came under scrutiny after it was revealed some grants were illegally granted to employees of the state agency running the assistance program. The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs leader was forced to resign in December after it was discovered he had awarded grant money to employees who worked under him. Now, Indiana’s legislators are speedily pushing reforms to the program to ensure that the emergency grants are given to the veterans who actually need them.
While most of the issues affecting America’s veterans as a whole are enacted at the federal level, the states also play an important role. And as is evident from these examples, legislation affecting veterans at the state level can be good and bad.