Veterans’ services bill becomes law

Younger veterans are not accessing all that is available to them

July 13, 2015


AUGUSTA –A bill that aims to better assist veterans, especially the younger ones, on the path to civilian life became law on Sunday.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, understands how difficult the transition from military service to civilian life can be for veterans and he wants to review how the state can better assist them on the path to success after service.

“There are new challenges that veterans face today and we need to adapt to address them,” said Golden, the bill’s main sponsor. “We need to improve how we communicate with the veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq and identify their needs."

The legislation establishes a commission to study gaps, duplications and inefficiencies in services and look at ways to better meet the needs of veterans through improved delivery and communication.

The study group will consist of veterans of different ages, representatives of veterans organizations and legislators. It will report back to the Legislature before the next year’s session.

“I deal with a lot of veterans, and many of them, especially the younger ones, are very frustrated,” said Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, a retired U.S. Navy officer and a co-sponsor of the bill. “Finding better ways to serve veterans and communicate with them will go a long way towards improving their lives.”

LD 721 which the Legislature passed on June 30, was among the measures that became law without the governor’s signature. The governor has 10 days, not including Sundays, to sign or veto a bill. If he does not take either of those actions, the bill becomes law if the Legislature has not finally adjourned.

The bill will go into effect immediately. The Legislature will be in session on July 16 to address any vetoes issued by the governor as prescribed by the Maine Constitution.

Contact:

Ann Kim [Golden, Devin], cell 233-1838