New bills ‘honor and improve’ vets’ lives

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Louisiana Legislature, during the 2008 Regular Session, passed and Governor Jindal signed into law three significant bills that will honor and improve the lives of Louisiana’s veterans and their families.

Senate Bill No. 644, by Senator Robert Adley, authorizes the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs to form an Advisory Committee to establish and manage a Veterans’ Honor Medal Program.  The program will recognize and honor Louisiana’s 366,000 veterans with a special medal. 

Secretary Lane Carson stated, “This medal is in recognition of veterans’ honorable service in the Armed Forces of our country, and our department, along with the Governor and citizens of Louisiana, express our sincere appreciation for their sacrifice, dedication, and willingness to serve our great state and nation.” 

 Louisiana is one of only two states that will honor its veterans with an appreciation medal.

Senate Bill No. 686, by Senator Reggie Dupre, creates and establishes the Louisiana Military Family Assistance Board under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Military Family Assistance Fund helps families defray the costs of such necessities as food, housing and medical services that become difficult to afford when a family member has temporarily left civilian employment to serve on active military duty. 

Secretary Carson stated, “The brave Louisiana servicemen and servicewomen who risk their lives every day to protect our nation should be secure in the knowledge that the citizens of their state stand ready to assist them and their families in the event of a financial crisis.” 

The Fund provides a means by which Louisiana citizens and business can donate money that will be used to pay the  needs-based claims of family members of activated military personnel. 

Finally, House Concurrent Resolution No. 105, by Representative Jane Smith, authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to study and make recommendations before the 2009 Regular Legislative Session to establish the Afghanistan, Iraq, Global War on Terror Bonus Plan, and to recommend a program for payments to certain Louisiana veterans who have been deployed for active duty in either Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the Global War on Terror.