Jan. 28, 2015

HARRISBURG – The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, chaired by Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), advanced four bills that provide new benefits and considerations to veterans and emergency responders.

House Bill 131, sponsored by Barrar, would require veterans, their spouses and their dependent children who attend community colleges and state-related/state-owned institutions to be charged the in-state rates. This bill would ensure that our veterans who have served their country honorably would be able to use the education benefits they have earned on behalf of a grateful nation.

House Bill 157 would require certain Commonwealth agencies to provide due consideration to the experience, training and education that veterans gained during their service when it comes to obtaining professional credentials for licenses and certifications. This bill would assist veterans by easing their transition back to civilian life.

“A very much forgotten emergency responder and homeland security asset is our Civil Air Patrol,” Barrar said. “House Bill 49 would extend the $100,000 death benefit that is currently available to other emergency responders, such as firefighters, EMS personnel and National Guard, which is available under Act 101 of 1976, to members of the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol. Pennsylvania has been very fortunate to have never lost a member of the PA Civil Air Patrol in the line of duty.”

House Bill 152 would amend the first responder death benefit act by extending the filing period for the benefit from 90 days to three years, thereby making the Commonwealth’s filing period uniform with the death benefit offered by the federal government. In addition, the bill contains a retroactivity provision of three years upon the effective date of the bill. The bill would become effective immediately upon the governor’s signature.

“I am pleased that this committee continues to be very active by voting out bills important to the citizens of Pennsylvania so early in the new session,” Barrar said. “I look forward to yet another productive session that will benefit our military personnel, veterans, emergency responders and their families.”

These bills are expected to be voted on by the full House and sent to the Senate early next week.

To view the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee meeting, click here.

Representative Stephen E. Barrar
160th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
SteveBarrar.com / Facebook.com/RepBarrar