Rep. Adrian Madaro joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass legislation to support Massachusetts’ veterans and military families including an important provision to make more veterans eligible for property tax exemptions by relaxing the residency requirements. This bill builds upon the Commonwealth’s legacy as a national leader for the number of programs and services it offers to military personnel, veterans and their families.
Additionally, this bill creates a diversion program for veterans going through the justice system, allowing those with no prior criminal record to be placed into diversion and pre-trial probation programs for certain offenses. Rep. Madaro was a strong supporter of this measure, believing that individualized treatment is the best option to keep veterans out of the criminal justice system and to provide the necessary care and attention so many lack.
“I am immensely proud that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation when it comes to military-benefit programs and services,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “This legislation sends a message to our heroes and their families that we appreciate their bravery, sacrifice and service.”
“I am proud that the House was able to pass legislation that aims to improve the lives of Veterans in Massachusetts before Memorial Day,” said Rep. John J. Lawn, Jr., Chair of the House Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “The goal of this legislation was to expand on the Commonwealth’s legacy as a leader of veterans benefits. This long weekend, I hope we all take a moment to appreciate the ultimate sacrifice our servicemen and women have made in exchange for every American’s freedom.”
“Long after they return home, many veterans and their loved ones are still battling to receive much-needed and much-deserved benefits,” said Rep. Adrian Madaro. “This legislation furthers our commitment, as a State and as a society, to providing benefits, job opportunities, and diversion programs for those who served our country with dedication and honor”.
The bill provides new financial supports to families including:
- Creates a $1,000 active-duty death benefit, in addition to any annuity the person would have received;
- Increases the amount a deceased veteran’s estate may receive to assist with funeral and burial expenses from $2,000 to $4,000.
Recognizing that many people who serve in the military have specialized medical training, the legislation makes it easier for military personnel to become EMTs once they return home.
Lastly, under this legislation every municipality in the Commonwealth will now designate one parking space at its town or city hall as “veterans-only parking.”