Military & Veterans News
Braley’s Bipartisan “Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity” Advances in US House PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:37

Measures will strengthen veterans’ employment protections, enhance mortgage safeguards, and block deceptive targeting of vets by educational institutions

Washington, D.C. – A package of three bipartisan bills authored by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01), dubbed the “Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity,” were approved by a US House panel earlier today.  The measures will help improve economic opportunities and job protections for America’s military veterans.  Braley is the highest ranking Democrat on the panel, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.

Braley’s “Blueprint” will strengthen employment protections for veterans seeking medical treatment for service-related injuries, enhance protections from home foreclosures against veterans, and target deceptive marketing practices of some educational institutions by providing veterans with standard information about available higher education options.

“The ‘Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity’ advanced by the subcommittee today will strengthen protections for veterans’ jobs, homes, and educational benefits,” said Braley.  “This is a step forward for America’s returning veterans.  I’m encouraged that these proposals attracted such strong support from members of both parties.  It shows what’s possible when we put aside party labels and work together to do good for men and women who have sacrificed so much for us.”

The three bills passed with the overwhelming bipartisan support of the panel, chaired by Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman (IN-03).  Braley and Stutzman have worked closely together for months on numerous legislative proposals to improve economic prospects for veterans.  In October 2011, Braley and Stutzman hosted a field hearing on reducing the unemployment rate among returning National Guard veterans in Waterloo, Iowa.

More detailed summaries of the components of Braley’s “Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity” follow:

HR 3524, Disabled Veterans Employment Protection Act. Introduced November 2011 by Braley.  Version adopted today provides military and National Guard veterans up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave each calendar year for treatment for a service-related injury without fear of losing their jobs.  More information: http://go.usa.gov/vJ0

HR 5747, Military Veteran Home Protection Act. Introduced May 2012 by Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-07).  Braley version introduced and adopted today expands and improves protections from home foreclosures against military veterans and surviving spouses of servicemembers who died while serving our country.

HR 4057, Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act. Introduced February 2012 by Rep. Gus Bilrakis (FL-09). Braley version introduced and adopted today targets aggressive and deceptive marketing to service members and veterans by some educational institutions and provides veterans with standard information about post-secondary institutions to help vets make more informed choices about college.

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IOWA VETERANS CEMETERY TO ASSIST MISSING IN AMERICA PROJECT PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Iowa Governor's Office   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:02
On Friday, June 29 at 2:00 p.m., 21 veterans and 2 spouses will be interred at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery as part of the Missing in America Project. Military honors and dignified interment will be provided by a Military Honor Guard and the Cemetery staff.

For information on the Missing in America Project, visit their website at: http://www.miap.us

The Iowa contact for the Missing in America Project (MIAP) is Bill Lauchlin at 319-573-1616.

The Iowa Veterans Cemetery assisted the MIAP in 2009 with the interment of 7 veterans. The Cemetery is located on Interstate 80/ Van Meter Exit 113.

 
First Lady Present As Governor Quinn Signs Historic Bill at Illinois National Guard Armory PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by National Guard PAO Illinois   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:57

Military Family Licensing Act Provides Expedited Professional Licenses to Illinois Servicemembers and Their Spouses

CHICAGO (06/27/2012)(readMedia)-- In grand fashion, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois National Guard hosted First Lady Michelle Obama at an historic bill-signing at the Calumet armory in Chicago on June 26. The governor – flanked by the first lady, Acting Adjutant General of Illinois Maj. Gen. Dennis Celletti, bill sponsors Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton, state Rep. Bob Pritchard, and state Sen. Martin Sandoval – signed into law the "Military Family Licensing Act".

The bill – officially named Senate Bill 275 – provides for temporary expedited professional and educational licenses for active duty members of the military and their spouses after the families relocate to Illinois for military service. More than 300 Servicemembers and their families crowded into the armory in the South Loop to witness the historic event. Illinois will become the 23rd state to adopt pro-military spouse license portability legislation when the law takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.

"Our military families make great sacrifices every day, and they shouldn't have to put their career on hold while their loved ones are serving their country overseas," Gov. Quinn said. "This new law will strengthen Illinois and allow these dedicated professionals to waste no time in finding work and making a difference as they settle into their new home."

As part of her Joining Forces initiative to honor, recognize and support military families, the first lady has advocated for the 100,000 military spouses who serve in professions that require state licenses or certification. For many, this means having to bear high financial burdens to transfer their credentials from state to state as they serve.

"Because of Governor Quinn's efforts, more military spouses will be able to advance in their careers. More businesses, hospitals and schools will get the talented, experienced workers they rely on. And more families will have the income they need and the financial security they deserve," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "Above all, military families will know that America has their back. We are working hard every day to serve them as well as they have served this country."

In February, the first lady and Dr. Jill Biden asked the country's governors to improve job portability for military spouses in their states by relieving some of the financial burdens they face. At the time the first lady and Dr. Biden addressed the governors, only 11 states had such legislation. With the addition of the law in Illinois, that number has grown to 23, and an additional seven states have similar pending legislation.

"This is a monumental day for Servicemembers and their spouses here in Illinois," said Maj. Gen. Dennis Celletti of Springfield, the Acting Adjutant General of Illinois. "The legislation signed today will no doubt ease the burden associated with professional license transfer and further strengthen communities around the state. Illinois has once again set the standard for excellence in caring for its heroes."

The state agencies that issue occupational licenses, including the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the State Board of Education, will be able to grant temporary licenses to military members and spouses who hold credentials in other states in more than 50 professions, such as teachers, doctors, nurses, dentists, plumbers, paramedics, social workers, dieticians, and therapists.

"This new law is powerful for the more than 16,000 military families who call Illinois home," said Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren. "Military spouses make tremendous sacrifices to follow their loved ones from duty station to duty station – and temporary, expedited licensure is an important way our state can support them through those sacrifices."

In addition to temporary six-month licenses, the act allows the IDFPR to consider all relevant experience and training that a Servicemember has gained through military service towards meeting certain permanent state licensing requirements.

Illinois Army National Guard member Staff Sgt. Jamie Witt of Urbana, added to the sentiment felt by the bill's many supporters at the bill-signing. "As a civilian nurse, I can attest to the difficulties one may encounter when acquiring the proper state licensure for his or her profession. I am honored to be here today to witness the signing of this legislation," said Witt. "Our Servicemembers and their families now have one less obstacle to overcome during their transition to Illinois. This further illustrates that Illinois truly values its Servicemembers and their families - I am honored and proud to call Illinois home," said Witt.

 
Governor Quinn Signs Illinois Military Family Licensing Act with First Lady Michelle Obama PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 14:18

Law to Support Military Families Looking for Jobs;

Illinois 23rd State to Grant Expedited Professional Licenses to Servicemembers and their Spouses

CHICAGO – June 26, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn was joined today by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama as he signed the Illinois Military Family Licensing Act to support military families as they seek employment. The new law will help servicemembers and their spouses obtain the professional licenses they need to continue working after the family relocates to Illinois for military service. Today’s action is the latest Governor Quinn has taken in his long history of supporting military members and their families in Illinois.

“Our military families make great sacrifices every day, and they shouldn’t have to put their career on hold while their loved ones are serving their country overseas,” Governor Quinn said. “This new law will strengthen Illinois and allow these dedicated professionals to waste no time in finding work and making a difference as they settle into their new home.”

Illinois will become the 23rd state to adopt pro-military spouse license portability legislation. As part of her Joining Forces initiative to honor, recognize and support military families, First Lady Michelle Obama has advocated for the 100,000 military spouses who serve in professions that require state licenses or certification, and have to bear high financial burdens to transfer their credentials from state to state as they serve this country. In February, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden asked Governor Quinn and the rest of the country’s governors and spouses to improve job portability for military spouses in their states. At the time the First Lady and Dr. Biden addressed the Governors, only 11 states had legislation. That number has since grown to 23-including Illinois- and an additional 7 states have pending legislation.

“Because of Governor Quinn’s efforts, more military spouses will be able to advance in their careers. More businesses, hospitals and schools will get the talented, experienced workers they rely on.  And more families will have the income they need and the financial security they deserve.  And above all, military families will know that America has their back, we are working hard every day to serve them as well as they have served this country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.

Senate Bill 275, sponsored by Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and State Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley), provides for temporary expedited professional and educational licenses for active duty members of the military and their spouses. State agencies that issue occupational licenses, including the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the State Board of Education, will be able to grant temporary licenses to military members and spouses who hold credentials in other states in more than 50 professions, such as teachers, doctors, nurses, dentists, plumbers, paramedics, social workers, dieticians and therapists.

“When the White House told me about this issue, I immediately vowed to work with their staff to pass this important measure,” Sen. Cullerton said. “This new law will ease the burden placed on military families who want to serve their country even more through noble professions in the fields of education, child care services and public health.”

“SB275 will reduce the time needed for service members and their spouses to obtain a professional license so they can continue to work and supplement the family income, while still assuring the skills of the licensee and public safety,” Rep. Pritchard said. “I look forward to continuing to address key quality of life issues for our servicemembers and their families in Illinois.”

In addition to temporary, 6-month licenses, the Act allows IDFPR to consider all relevant experience and training a servicemember has gained through military service towards meeting certain permanent state licensing requirements. These provisions will help military members and their spouses more easily navigate the patchwork of non-uniform regulations across all 50 states. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Illinois is the home to three major military bases – Naval Station Great Lakes, the Navy’s single-site “bootcamp” for training new recruits; Scott Air Force Base, the headquarters for the U.S. Transportation Command, and Rock Island Arsenal, a major weapons manufacturing facility in the U.S.

“This new law is powerful for the more than 16,000 military families who call Illinois home,” IDVA Director Erica Borggren said. “Military spouses make tremendous sacrifices to follow their loved ones from duty station to duty station – and temporary, expedited licensure is an important way our State can support them through those sacrifices.”

“This is a win-win for Illinois. Military families benefit from increased portability of their professional credentials, and Illinois consumers benefit from increased access to qualified professionals,” said DFPR Secretary Brent Adams.

Governor Quinn has long made commitment to veterans, servicemembers and their families one of his top priorities throughout his career in public service. He has led programs including the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program and the Veterans Cash lottery ticket, which has awarded more than $10 million to non-profit organizations across the state that provide health care and post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, housing assistance, disability benefits and other services to Illinois Veterans.

As Lieutenant Governor, Governor Quinn championed the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund Act, which established a fund to provide grants to families of Illinois National Guard members and Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve components who were called to active duty as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. These grants help service members and their families with the costs of food, housing, utilities, medical services and other expenses they struggle to afford because a wage-earner has temporarily left civilian employment to be placed on active military duty.

In 2011, Governor Quinn launched the Welcome Home Heroes program to promote homeownership for Illinois Veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members. The financing package is available statewide, and provides a forgivable grant up to $10,000 toward the purchase of a new home, as well as an additional mortgage tax credit up to $20,000 over the life of the loan. Welcome Home Heroes will make homeownership even more affordable for thousands of military families and create more than 400 jobs throughout Illinois.

For more information about programs for our Veterans, visit Veterans.Illinois.Gov or call the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs at 217-782-6641 or 312-814-2460.

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More Troops Deploying to Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Move America Forward   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 12:40
Troopathon 2012 is almost here! We now have only 17 days left! We have a long way to go if we're going to send the largest-yet shipment of care packages to our troops! Join the cast of celebrities, musicians, journalists, and others who are coming together to support our troops and Troopathon 2012! Send care packages to our troops today!


MORE TROOPS DEPLOYING TO AFGHANISTAN
THEY NEED OUR HELP!

Across several states this weekend, friends and family bade farewell to fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives deploying to Afghanistan to fight and protect our country from ruthless terrorists.

Over 800 Troops from the Alabama National Guard.

About 150 Troops from the Utah National Guard.

300 Troops deploying out of Ft. Benning, Georgia.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team is training for deployment.

Over 3,000 Troops from Ft. Riley, KS now set to deploy.

2,950 Troops from the 101st Airborne are set to deploy out of Kentucky.


Army Col. Michael Getchell, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, discusses the concerns of Afghan provincial leader role players during an exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., June 11, 2012. The brigade is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan in the fall.




Troopathon is a month-long effort that culminates on July 12th, but we are taking donations for Troopathon RIGHT NOW!

Troopathon brings together conservative celebrities from all walks of life to concentrate on supporting our troops for one day, where we really try to hit it out of the park for our military servicemen and women.

Mark your calendars now, and be ready July 12th for an event that will amaze and energize you to support our troops more than ever! 

 
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