Photo Courtesy of Sen. Addabbo’s Office
Senator Addabbo chats with a veteran last week at the American Legion Legislative Breakfast.
By Forum Staff
The State Senate recently approved six pieces of legislation supporting New York veterans and active duty military personnel, Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) announced Monday.
The Outdoor Rx Act, co-sponsored by Addabbo, requires the Division of Veterans’ Services to work with other State offices to review issues facing veterans and their abilities to access state parks, lands, and facilities. Outdoor-based therapeutic programs have been effective for people suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorder. The Outdoor Rx Act will be the first step in the progress of how New York can better address the needs of those veterans who are trying to readjust back to the civilian life by being outside.
After unanimously passing the Senate, the Outdoor Rx Act was returned to the Assembly where it already received approval on Feb. 13.
A second bill co-sponsored by Addabbo, a long-time member of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, provides an increase of the Alternative Veterans Exemption for a household with two qualifying veterans. A household with two veterans who served during wartime would receive an exemption up to 22.5 percent of the assessed value of the property with an additional 15 percent if both veterans served in a combat zone. Each county must still opt in to grant this alternative exemption. This proposed law properly recognizes and rewards all veterans who have served their country and who own property in New York State, Addabbo said.
Other such measures passed by the Senate:
Veteran Career Assistance Program: Creates a program within the State University of New York and City University of New York systems to assist veterans in resume building and career searching. It will provide veterans with the tools to translate their military experiences and skills into a resume, and supportive employment placement services.
Veteran Civil Service Credit: Allows anyone who has served in the military to receive preferences and additional credits on competitive examinations for civil service appointments. Currently, the credit is only available to veterans who served during time of war.
Tax Exemptions for Property Owners: Authorizes municipalities to offer real property tax exemption for residential property owned by active duty military personnel.
Establishes Military Opportunities Day: proposes Nov. 1 of each year to be Military Opportunities Day, to show support and encouragement of military service recruiters and those who seek to enlist in military service.
According to Addabbo, the four above bills were delivered to the Assembly and have been referred to the appropriate committee. Most of the measures were passed on Friday, Fort Drum Day.
“Every year Fort Drum Day provides us with the unique opportunity to personally thank our military and demonstrate our continued support while they serve and upon their return to civilian life. I am proud to join my colleagues in passing these bills to help our veterans have greater access to employment, affordable housing, counseling, education and other necessary services. I consider every day to be Veterans Day, so to all veterans—thank you,”Addabbo added.