Legislation that helps former military members is fairly common in states across the nation. Members of local and national government bodies alike feel a duty to aid the veterans in their communities. At the state level, state representatives, senators and governors have kept up a stream of new proposals to ensure their constituencies stay appealing places for vets to live, work and start families. It can be difficult to track these initiatives due to their number and diverse nature, but they're still valuable. Below are two examples of states at work on new legislation.

Meeting of the minds in Virginia
A recent forum in Virginia sought to establish common ground between legislators and veterans' groups, according to local news station WSLS. These kinds of meetings between vets and the individuals who represent them in the general assembly can help ensure that the initiatives being advanced are actually helpful and represent good uses of state money.

The news source laid out the items proposed for discussion in 2017. For instance, Virginia Veterans and Family Support Services may soon be getting help in the form of new full-time employees and money. Additionally, overseas veterans from Virginia may soon be able to return their election ballots digitally via a new secure system. Other items on the agenda included in-state tuition rates for Reserve Components members, as well as income tax subtraction for National Guard members. These many planned pieces of legislation are part of a concerted effort to ensure Virginia is a veteran-friendly state.

"It's important to ensure vets have their voices heard concerning changes that would be positive from their perspective."

Retired Army Colonel John Miller told WSLS that the forum saw good attendance, and discussion focused on whether items will be able to pass in the general assembly in a year when the budget is particularly tight. With conditions pointing to limited new spending, it's especially important to ensure vets have their voices heard concerning the changes that would be particularly positive from their perspective. When they meet legislators and the governor in person, these individuals can make their points. Miller added that he hopes the general assembly holds a similar forum every year – the recent event was the first of its kind in Virginia.

SMB bill advances in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, a recent bill provides a good look at the kind of laws being proposed to ease everyday life for vets. According to local news source The Morning Call, House Bill 1600 eliminates small-business founding fees. A charge of $125 for company creation or $70 for name changes would be waived for entrepreneurs coming from the military under the proposed law. Missouri already has such an exception, and this gave State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie the idea.

Mackenzie stated that he considers the bill a help to both the vets who would be stepping into the new SMB roles and the local entrepreneurial community. Military members feeling more comfortable starting their own companies can stimulate the business climate while also eliminating the job search process. The news source reported that Mackenzie also believes that with more new organizations being founded, a number jobs will open up that will boost the region in general.