DeSantis signs legislation to expand veteran support

by | Jun 20, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law enhancing support for veterans and their families in Florida: House Bill 725 expands state veterans’ home residency to include spouses, and House Bill 1329 introduces initiatives for veterans’ transition to civilian life.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law on Thursday aimed at enhancing support for veterans and their families in Florida.

The first measure, House Bill 725, expands eligibility for residency in state veterans’ homes to include the spouses and surviving spouses of qualifying veterans. Previously, only veterans were eligible for admission to these facilities, which are operated by the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA). The bill prioritizes veterans for admission but now allows their spouses to live with them in these facilities. Currently, the FDVA operates nine state veterans’ homes that provide comprehensive care and services to veterans.

“We want to make sure that families are kept together, spouses are kept together,” said DeSantis.

House Bill 1329, the second signed bill, introduces several initiatives to support veterans’ transition to civilian life and improve their employment opportunities. The legislation creates the Major John Leroy Haynes Florida Veterans’ History Program, which will collect and preserve veterans’ stories and experiences, ensuring their contributions are recognized and remembered.

“It’s up to us to make sure that future generations understand what it means,” DeSantis said. “And I think that this program to record these stories and preserve them is really, really important.”

The bill also expands the activities of Veterans Florida, a non-profit corporation under the FDVA, to include enhanced employment outreach and support services. Veterans Florida will now serve as the primary point of transition assistance for veterans and their spouses, offering resources for entrepreneurship, education, and training. The bill additionally revises the membership and appointment process for Veterans Florida’s governing board..

Further, HB 1329 provides fee exemptions for hunting and fishing licenses to certain disabled veterans. It mandates that middle and high school students receive instruction on the history and importance of Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of veterans’ sacrifices among younger generations. The bill encourages the integration of veterans’ historical contributions into school curriculums to promote awareness.


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