Trenton – A four-bill package aimed toward supporting New Jersey veterans as well as active duty military and their families was unanimously approved by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee today.
The first two bills are targeted toward various levels of support for furthering the education of military spouses and their children.
The first bill, S-1800, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, would establish the “Purple Star Schools Program,” within the Department of Education to recognize public and nonpublic schools that emphasize the importance of helping children of military families adjust to new surroundings and new learning environments.
The second bill, S-1817, also sponsored by Senator Gopal, would permit spouses and dependents of military service members to qualify for in-state tuition and prevent the loss of benefits in the event that the service member is transferred to another state.
“The establishment of the Purple Star Schools Program would recognize schools that go out of their way to attend to the educational, social, and emotional needs of children of active duty military personnel,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “With these bills, we recognize the service of members of the military and support them and their families, by focusing on education, and allowing them to pursue their dreams under what can be difficult school transitions and relocations.”
The third bill, S-152, sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan, would authorize members of the Armed Forces, along with the member’s spouse and dependents who are not domiciled in New Jersey to operate a motor vehicle on the public roadways of the State.
“Military service accompanies frequent reassignments which prevents members from changing their legal residencies. This bill will ease the transition for military service members entering New Jersey and their families by eliminating the need to obtain New Jersey driver’s licenses,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “This bill will serve as a warm welcome to members of the Armed Forces from our State.”
The final bill, S-1511, sponsored by Senator Richard Codey and Senator Gopal, would amend the “Wounded Warrior Caregivers Relief Act” to expand eligibility for the tax credit to include qualified family caregivers of former service members with service-connected disabilities arising out of active service.
“This bill would be an additional display of gratitude from our State to disabled veterans for their service. Family caregivers of disabled veterans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, deserve to be celebrated and compensated for the work they do on a daily basis,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “With this bill, we continue to recognize the sacrifices of disabled veterans and their caregivers.”
“Disabled veterans deserve access to adequate care and family caregivers should be allowed to care for disabled veterans without worry. This bill would provide financial assistance to an increased number of family caregivers to disabled veterans,” added Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).