Acts Affecting Veterans
By State Representative Marilyn Giuliano
In light of Veterans Day, I’d like to take a moment to highlight a number of new laws relating to veterans of our armed services that were enacted during the last session of the legislature. I’ve summarized the highlights of these public acts passed by the Connecticut General Assembly affecting our Connecticut veterans.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS FOR VETERANS IN NURSING HOMES
New legislation prevents nursing homes from restricting patient access to prescription drugs from any U. S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) prescription drug program or health plan.
WELCOME HOME VIETNAM VETERANS’ DAY
March 30 will now annually be declared by the Governor as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans’ Day to commemorate and honor Vietnam veterans’ return home.
LICENSURE AND CERTIFICATION CREDITS FOR MILITARY TRAINING
A new law prohibits state agencies from requiring applicants who served in the armed forces to repeat any substantially similar schooling or training required for licensure or certification. State agencies or boards that issue licenses or certificates requiring professional training, schooling, or apprenticeship will now be required to provide credits or exemption requirements toward licensure or certification for applicants who received applicable training, schooling, or experience while serving in the armed forces.
GROUP FISHING LICENSE
New legislation allows the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection to grant group fishing licenses to tax exempt organizations to conduct fishing events for individuals with a service-related disability who receive care or services at a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System facility.
PROMOTIONS FOR RETIRED VETERANS
Currently, an active service member with 20 or more years of military service may apply to be promoted or commissioned at one grade above the highest grade he or she ever held in the state or U.S. Armed Forces or on the governor’s military staff, but not above brigadier general or sergeant major. The new law passed this session now allows retired service members who meet the same years-of-service requirements as current active service members to also apply to be promoted or commissioned one grade above the highest grade he or she held. The law already allows members still in the service and who meet years-of-service requirements to apply for retirement promotion before retiring. New legislation allows honorably discharged retired members of the Connecticut National Guard or the governor’s military staff with 30 or more years of service to apply to the adjutant general for “retirement promotion” if they did not apply before retiring.
EXPIRATION DATE OF DRIVER’S LICENSES
If an armed forces member was out of state because of his or her active-duty service, new legislation extends the expiration date of that service person’s driver’s license. The law applies if the service member’s license has not been suspended, cancelled, or revoked and if the service member has discharge or separation papers in his or her possession. The extension is for 30 days after the service member is honorably discharged or returns home to Connecticut.