Comprehensive veterans bill signed into law

Measures stem from the work of veterans services commission

April 14, 2016

 Signing of LD 1612

AUGUSTA – Reps. Jared Golden and Louie Luchini, who played pivotal roles in the crafting and shepherding of LD 1612, attended the signing of the veterans’ services and National Guard tuition bill Thursday.

“Today is a great day for the Mainers who serve our country,” said Golden, D-Lewiston, the House chair of a special veterans services commission, a member of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee and a Marine Corps veteran who sponsored the legislation that created the commission. “So many people came together to make sure we ease the transition from military to civilian life. We now have a law that helps us do that better and truly honors the contributions of Maine servicemen and servicewomen.”

“The best work is the work we do together,” said Luchini, D-Ellsworth, the House chair of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee and a member of the veterans services commission. “Lawmakers united behind each and every proposal in this bill, providing overwhelming bipartisan support each step of the way. We can be proud of what we’ve accomplished to improve the lives of Maine’s veterans and Guard members.”

LD 1612:

The measures in LD 1612 stem from the work of the Commission to Strengthen and Align the Services Provided to Maine Veterans, co-chaired by Golden. The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, co-chaired by Luchini, crafted legislation based on the commission’s work.

The commission found that of the estimated 140,000 veterans in Maine, less than half are enrolled with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, meaning they are not receiving the federal health benefits and other services for which they may be eligible. The commission also found that Maine has one veterans service officer for every 20,000 veterans in the state, a ratio that is far behind that of other states.

The law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

Contact:

Ann Kim [Golden, Luchini] 233-1838