The State of Wisconsin: Supporting our Veterans
With Memorial Day having just passed, I hope that everyone had the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by the young men and women who serve in the armed forces. These individuals deserve our support, and I’m happy to say that the State of Wisconsin has taken steps to assist our veterans.
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs provides veterans with an easy to access list of benefits, as well as detailed eligibility requirements. Among other benefits, veterans in Wisconsin have cheaper access to state parks, lower cost educational opportunities, and access to job retraining grants. In some cases, Wisconsin will partner with the federal government to better serve our veterans. One such example is the Troops to Teachers program, itself a partnership between U.S. Departments of Defense and Education with state branches throughout the country. This program provides stipends (and possibly bonuses) to offset the cost of teacher licensing if the veteran agrees to teach in a low income area.
Wisconsin already has a very good reputation among the states for both the breadth and depth of its veterans affairs services, and state legislators want to maintain and build on that reputation. Two bills currently working their way through the legislature bear particular notice.
SB84, jointly written by Representative Kevin Peterson and Senator Dave Hansen would grant non-remarried surviving spouses of veterans who died of a service related disability eligibility for a property tax credit. The bill is currently in the Senate’s Committee for Economic Development and Veterans and Military Affairs. Its Assembly companion should be introduced soon, and in its current draft form is known as LRB 1537/1 .
AB60, which has been introduced by Representative Karl Van Roy, and is co-sponsored by several members of the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, aims to fix an inefficiency in government. The bill expands County Blanket Bonds to include County Veterans Service Officers and County Veterans Service Commissions along with other county officials, such as the Sheriff, Treasurer, County Clerk, etc. This means that these individuals and commissions would have the same indemnity as other county officials, and would no longer have to have a separate bond. AB60 has passed the Assembly, and is currently awaiting action in the Senate.