Each year, more is done to help veterans as they return home from service, by local, state, and federal governments. This is certainly the case in Massachusetts, where lawmakers recently pushed through a raft of new bills designed to help former servicemembers in a number of ways.
In the final few weeks of 2015, members of the Massachusetts legislature sent several bills to Gov. Charlie Baker to be signed into law, according to a report from State House News Service. A number of these were recently explained to former servicemembers at an annual Boston luncheon for veterans, with a few highlighted as being particularly important to upholding the respect that veterans are due. For instance, these laws make it illegal to impersonate a veteran for some sort of gain, institute punishments for people who damage veterans' graves, and also give Purple Heart recipients free access to state parks.
"Something like six pieces of legislation got to the governor's desk on, before or just after Veterans Day this fall, some very significant bills," Senate President Stanley Rosenberg told the assembled veterans, according to the news organization. "I know that [Michael Rush, a state senator and Navy Reserve officer] and [State Rep. Jerald Parisella, a veteran of the Army Reserve] are working hard now on another package of legislation which we hope will be ready to be considered as we approach Memorial Day."
Further, lawmakers note that they plan to continue working with the Massachusetts Veterans' Service Officers Association to craft new legislation, the report said. In the near future, these could include laws pertaining to veterans housing and the ability of veterans to get civil service jobs.
This is part of a large and fortunately growing trend among lawmakers at all levels, who are now doing more to help veterans navigate the often difficult aspects of their everyday lives after they return from service.