(Aug. 7) – Several new laws to improve services for veterans and military families went into effect today, 90 days after the end of the 2013 legislative session. All of the new laws stem from bills that received broad bipartisan support in the General Assembly. Laws that went into effect today include the following:
· HB 13-1119, sponsored by Rep. Tony Exum Sr. (D-Colorado Springs), gives veterans the option of having a military branch-of-service identifier on their Colorado drivers’ licenses and IDs, making it easier for them to access veteran benefits and special discounts at some local businesses.
· HB 13-1011, sponsored by Reps. Dave Young (D-Greeley) and Millie Hamner (D-Dillon), eliminates the fee for the branch-of-service identifier.
· HB 13-1123, also by Rep. Exum, helps the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment make connections between job seekers – particularly veterans – and employers. Various organizations provide job referrals and placements for veterans, but due to confidentiality rules they are unable to access information about those who are seeking work. This new law allows the CDLE to provide the names and basic contact information of those who wish to share their information with prospective employers.
· HB 13-1024, sponsored by Reps. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) and Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs), alleviates a tax burden on military families by ensuring the tax-free status of military family relief fund grants, which are provided when a servicemember is deployed or called to active duty.
· HB 13-1232, sponsored by Rep. Mike McLachlan (D-Durango), provides free fishing licenses for wounded active-duty military members who have been transferred to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Carson. The new law will provide another rehabilitating outlet for soldiers who return from war with mental and physical injuries.
“These new laws will make it much easier for veterans and military families to access state services and veteran benefits,” Rep. Exum said. “It’s a common-sense way to honor servicemembers and the commitment they’ve made to our nation.”