From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson


Senator Johnson: Legislative Package to Help New York’s Veterans And Soldiers Passes Senate

The State Senate Majority last week passed legislation that will expand, or launch new benefits programs for the brave New Yorkers who have fought for our nation’s freedom, Senator Craig M. Johnson announced.

 This legislative package includes: The ability to audit courses, without charge, at SUNY and CUNY for veterans seeking to advance their academic careers. Access to property tax exemptions that would help the many service members who have found it difficult to afford to remain in their community as a result of service. Ending barriers that currently make it difficult for active duty military personnel to marry as a result of deployment. These deployments can often come without notice for adequate planning purposes.

 “These brave men and women stood up and have either left their homes and loved ones to defend our country, or are still fighting on the front lines,” Senator Johnson said. “I’m proud to have passed this legislative package that will better ensure that this state is there for our veterans like they have been there for us.”

Benefits to Improve Health and Well-Being

S7021: Extends until June 16, 2012 revival of time barred actions for an injury or death caused by exposure to phenoxy herbicides for persons serving in the armed forces in Indochina from February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975.  This bill provides veterans who were exposed to these substances access to the courts.

 S7112: Establishes the New York State Interagency Coordinating Council for Service-Disabled Veterans to promote the implementation of a comprehensive statewide program of coordinated services for service disabled veterans.  Services would include educational training, health, employment, housing options, transportation options, personal care and family outreach

 S7041: Authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to designate organized fishing events to provide physical and emotional rehabilitation for current and former members of the armed forces.  A fishing license would not be required to participate.


Helping Soldiers Being Deployed with Matrimonial Services

S7570: Allows military personnel scheduled for deployment in less than 60 days, while deployed, or during a mobilization period to marry within twenty-four hours of receiving a marriage license.  In recent years, the number of military deployments has increased, with less notice, thereby making it difficult for members of the military to get their personal affairs in order before leaving.  This bill would address one of those concerns. 


Tax Relief

S103-A: Authorizes localities to grant a property tax exemption for reservists who are on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days within the immediately preceding calendar year.  The exemption would apply to the primary residence of the reservist.

 S4876-A: Permits a veteran to transfer the property tax exemption on his or her primary residence to a new primary residence when moving within the same city, town or village.  With this legislation, veterans would be assured that they could move anywhere within the same county without risk of losing their exemption. 

 S5370: Allows for an additional property tax exemption when two qualified veterans reside in the same household.  Currently, the exemption is available to one such veteran only.  This legislation would properly recognize and reward all veterans who have served their country.


Voting Protections

S7466-B: Contains a series of provisions designed to promote the timely receipt of military and special federal ballots, including adoption of provisions required by federal law related to absentee ballots. This bill would ensure that members of the military are able to have their votes counted


Educational Opportunity

S3171: Allows those with military service and an honorable discharge to audit courses without charge at the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY). By doing so, veterans would be encouraged to pursue additional education.


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