— The past two years have been some of the most productive in recent times with approval of 25 laws to honor and serve veterans and their families according to Senator Lisa Baker, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Chief among these changes is legislation she sponsored to create a Veterans Trust Fund, which will make it easier to connect veterans to the services they have earned.
"On Veterans Day, we say thank you to the millions who have served in our armed forces, who put personal safety and comfort aside for the good of our country. We think about the brave men and women who protect us and defend freedom and democracy. About the rights and privileges of citizenship we enjoy because of their service," said Baker at the recent bill signing ceremony. "But every grateful American knows that thank you is never enough. We must show our gratitude in action, not mere words."
Baker stated that the Veterans Trust Fund and the newly established Veterans Foundation will help veterans in need, including those looking for employment and those who have found themselves homeless.
"The Veterans Trust Fund provides a way to combine new private and public dollars to expand and extend veterans services along with several funding streams from the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation," she explained. "Part of the money will come from the sale of the Scotland School. Part will come from Pennsylvanians who value and appreciate how much our veterans have done for us.
"Within a year, every motorist will be given a chance to donate $3 when they renew their license or vehicle registration. If they purchase an 'Honoring Our Veterans' license plate, $15 will be devoted to the fund."
Other measures enacted include a program to encourage state agencies to contract with veteran-owned small businesses, comprehensive updates to the military's code of justice and improvements aimed at easing the process for soldiers to register to vote and to cast their ballot when deployed overseas.
A companion bill to Baker's legislation will allow veterans to obtain a "V" designation on their driver's license to offer a simpler way to qualify for discounts and other benefits.
Another newly passed law will train municipal police officers in the recognition of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).