The Massachusetts Legislature passed comprehensive legislation, An Act relative to military spouse-licensure portability, education and enrollment of dependents, addressing the Commonwealth’s most immediate needs in the veteran community and making necessary updates to service member quality-of-life issues and acknowledgements of our military branches and individual service, including supporting military families who relocate to the Commonwealth with expedited licensure and school enrollment, creating education awareness programs, and establishing the Massachusetts Medal of Fidelity.
Highlights of the legislation include:
Military spouse licensure portability: requires the Division of Occupational Licensure, the Department of Public Health, and Massachusetts Boards of Registration to accept a military spouse’s application for licensure or notify them of what criteria they were not able to meet within 30 days of the application.
Expedited military spouse teacher licenses: establishes a military spouse certificate to be issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner to military spouse teachers that meet certain requirements.
School enrollment for military children: allows military families to register and enroll in a school district when a service member first receives their relocation order, waiving the proof of residency requirement at the time of registration. This provision also allows military children who are transferring mid-semester to enroll in and attend one of the Commonwealth’s virtual schools.
Purple Star campus designation: establishes the Purple Star Campus Program, to be administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, to designate schools that demonstrate a commitment to students and families of service members.
In-state tuition continuity for military-connected college students: ensures that a member of the military stationed in the Commonwealth, their spouse, or their children are deemed an in-state resident after their acceptance at one of the state’s higher education institutions.
Civilian licensure and certification information: directs the Commissioner of Veterans’ Services to make information on civilian licensure and certification opportunities available to service members and veterans and provide information on military education and skills to relevant agencies.
Massachusetts National Guard family education program: establishes a Massachusetts National Guard Family Education Program to allow National Guard members to transfer their unused education benefits under the National Guard Education Assistance Program to their dependents.
Slot machines at veterans’ organizations commission: establishes a commission to study and report on limited slot machine licenses for veteran organizations.
Veteran Mentor Program: enables the UMass system, including UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell, Bridgewater State University, and Salem State University to establish veteran mentoring pilot programs to assist veterans attending their institutions adjust to civilian life.
Property tax exemption clarification: prohibits a city or town from requesting further evidence from a disabled veteran in subsequent tax years after the veteran has been granted a property tax exemption by the assessor of that town, unless the veteran’s disability rating determined by the VA is reduced.
Founding anniversaries of U.S. Armed Forces: requires the Governor to set aside the founding date anniversaries of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Massachusetts National Guard.
Medal of Fidelity: establishes the Massachusetts Medal of Fidelity to be presented to the next of kin of a service member or veteran who died as a result of service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder service-connected condition resulting from a traumatic brain injury, or a service-connected disease, condition or injury related to exposure to harmful toxin, herbicides, agents, or materials.
Deborah Sampson Memorial Commission: establishes a commission to determine a location and create a memorial for Deborah Sampson, a Massachusetts resident who disguised herself as a man in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
Funeral and burial benefits: requires funeral directors and their staffs to provide information on burial and funeral benefits for veterans.
Tax credit for employment of National Guard members: establishes a tax credit for businesses that employ members of the National Guard.
Should you be in the midst of a military divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-944-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.