Senate Committee Approves Mastriano Bill to Help Veterans’ Families Access Burial Benefits

HARRISBURG – The state Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Tuesday at a meeting chaired by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) approved three measures, including one bill to alert the family members of deceased veterans about federal burial benefits.

“Our veterans took care of us and our country while they were alive, so we want to take care of their families when they pass away,” Mastriano said.

The committee approved Mastriano’s Senate Bill 1139, which would require funeral directors, funeral parlors or cemetery companies to notify the director of the county veterans assistance office when a veteran living in the county dies. They also would have to provide the deceased veteran’s family with contact information for the county director The goal is to ensure veterans’ family members become aware of federal Department of Veterans Affairs burial benefits.

“Our veterans earned their burial benefits by serving our nation,” Mastriano said. “Burial benefits are one of the final ways our nation can show appreciation to our veterans. Fostering communication between surviving family members, funeral directors and county directors of veterans affairs offices will ensure the family gains access to the veteran’s records and the veteran receives a proper farewell.”

The committee also approved Senate Bill 973, which is modeled after the federal Korean American Vietnam Allies Long Overdue Relief (VALOR) Act. The bill would create the Pennsylvania Korean VALOR Act and grant the same rights, benefits and privileges of United States military veterans to any Pennsylvania resident who is both a Vietnam War veteran of the Korean armed forces and a naturalized citizen of the United States.

There are more than 3,000 naturalized Korean American citizens who served in the Vietnam War as part of the Korean armed forces. Hundreds of these veterans, who fought alongside U.S. military forces, reside in Pennsylvania.

“The president signed into law the Korean American VALOR Act in 2023,” Mastriano said. “This federal law – and the state equivalent we are advancing – offers long-overdue benefits to allies who fought alongside American veterans.”

The third measure approved by the committee – Senate Resolution 263 – was introduced by Mastriano and would signal the Senate’s support and encouragement for the Pennsylvania National Guard to enter a partner agreement with Sweden through the U.S. State Partnership Program.

“The National Guard Bureau is looking for a state national guard to partner with Sweden through the U.S. State Partnership Program, and I believe the Pennsylvania National Guard should pursue this opportunity,” Mastriano said. “Pennsylvania National Guard has enjoyed a successful relationship with Lithuania for more than three decades. The partnership with Sweden could strengthen our Pennsylvania National Guard by enabling members to train in unique environments and scenarios while fostering mutual growth and security.”

All three bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.

Constituents of the 33rd District can learn more about Mastriano by visiting his website at or following him on Facebook at

Media contact: Josh Herman

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