HARRISBURG – In honor of the brave Americans who defended our country and the approaching holiday celebrating their sacrifices, Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32) held a committee meeting to consider three bills to benefit veterans.
House Bill 491 would exempt 100% of a veteran’s federal disability compensation benefits or pension from income calculations for Commonwealth programs. It would also extend the exclusion of the veteran’s compensation benefits to his or her unmarried surviving spouse.
House Bill 995 would codify into law the “VETConnect” program, which is aimed at connecting veterans to the programs and services they need.
House Bill 1421 would increase the amount of the burial benefit to those who perform burial details for deceased veterans at any of the three national cemeteries. The rate would increase from $150 to $250 a day, which would be the first increase in more than 20 years. The bill would also allow the Pennsylvania National Guard to perform the burial functions when veterans’ groups are not available.
During the meeting, the committee also passed two bills that would impact health care professionals.
Senate Bill 861, which Sen. Stefano sponsored, would facilitate the day-to-day movement of EMS personnel across state boundaries in the performance of their duties as assigned by an appropriate authority without jeopardizing public safety.
“Pennsylvania is really struggling to recruit and retain licensed EMS providers, and my bill would help to make our state more attractive to out-of-state EMS personnel. In addition to helping with staffing during emergencies, our military families would be able to more quickly move from state to state,” Sen. Stefano said.
Senate Bill 927 would allow more health professionals, including dentists and physician assistants, to participate in the Medical Officer & Health Care Officer Incentive Program. The program, which initially began to address a lack of health care providers in the National Guard, offers a tuition reimbursement incentive to those who qualify through their time in the armed service.
Having received unanimous support from the committee, all five bills now advance to the full Senate for consideration.
Click HERE for a link to the video of the hearing.
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