November 11, 2022
Albany, NY

On Veterans Day, Governor Hochul Announces New Laws To Strengthen Protections and Support for Veterans and Their Families

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On Veterans Day, Governor Hochul Announces New Laws To Strengthen Protections and Support for Veterans and Their Families
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17 Landmarks to be Illuminated This Evening as Part of Operation Green Light, Which Began in New York State and is Now Marked Across the Country

Legislation (S.2089B/A.357A) Authorizes the Governor to Present the Newly Established "New York State Vietnam War Commemorative Medal"

Legislation (S.2091C/A1310B) Authorizes the Governor to Present the Newly Established "New York State Korean War Commemorative Medal"

Legislation (S.1961B/A3913B) Requires Employers Display a Veterans' Benefits and Services Poster Made by the Department of Labor in An Area Accessible to Employees

Legislation (S.6022B/A.5278B) Requires Veterans with Qualifying Conditions or Who Were Unfairly Discharged Because of their LGBTQ Identities Receive Credit for their Military Service

Legislation (S.2238B/A6551B) Establishes a "Reserved Bed Day" Policy for Those in State Veterans' Homes

Legislation (S.7068A/A.7728A) Provides for No Interest Rate for Certain Linked Loans and Financing Programs for Certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses

Legislation (S.8729/A.9590) Directs the Division of Veterans' Services to Create a Searchable Database of Veterans Memorials in New York State

Legislation (S.8367/A.9183) Authorizes Niagara County to Waive Certain Fees for Veterans' Organizations

Governor Kathy Hochul announced new laws that will strengthen protections and support for veterans and their families. The Governor has signed eight pieces of legislation in appreciation of Veterans Day, underscoring the administration's commitment to supporting American service members who have risked their lives to defend the nation. In addition, Governor Hochul issued this proclamation and directed that 17 state landmarks be illuminated green this evening as part of Operation Green Light, which began in New York State and has spread throughout the country to recognize veterans and service members from all eras of military service.

"We owe our service members so much more than gratitude, and it is our responsibility to support them and their families," Governor Hochul said. "From waiving fees for veterans' organizations to providing no interest loans, we are working hard to remove any obstacles in the way of our veterans' success here in New York. I thank them for protecting our freedoms and look forward to providing continued support in the future."

New York State Division of Veterans' Services Director Viviana DeCohen said, "We are grateful to Governor Hochul and the Legislature for their continued support and recognition of veterans who have put service above self. These legislative changes will ensure that we fulfill our mission of assisting all of New York's veterans, service members and their families so they can access all the benefits they earned through their military service."

Legislation (S.2089B/A.357A) establishes the Vietnam War Commemorative Medal and authorizes the Governor to present it to members of the armed forces or organized militia serving abroad in the Vietnam War between November 1955 and May 1975.

Legislation (S.2091C/A1310B) amends the military law to establish the Korean War Service Medal and authorizes Governor to present it to members of the armed forces or organized militia serving abroad in the Korean War between June 1950 and January 1955.

State Senator Daphne Jordan said, "I am absolutely thrilled that my bipartisan bills establishing the New York State Korean War Service Medal and the New York State Vietnam War Service Medal have been signed into state law for Veterans Day 2022! This is a tremendous accomplishment that I'm proud to share with our Korean War and Vietnam War Veterans, so many of whom strongly supported my legislation and joined me in advocating for its passage. These new medals will publicly recognize the service and sacrifice of our Korean War and Vietnam War Veterans who proudly wore America's uniform, forever enshrining their valor and patriotism, and help ensure they are never forgotten. Having my bills signed into New York State law is an incredible win for our Korean War and Vietnam War Veterans, and I am grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul for doing so. I'm thankful for the men and women of our armed forces who have defended our nation and preserved our way of life. We owe everything to these courageous American heroes as we observe Veterans Day and give thanks for their steadfast, honorable, faithful service."

Assemblymember William B. Magnarelli said, "Vietnam and Korean War veterans served with uncommon valor and courage. In many cases, their reception upon return home was muted, insufficient, and in some unfortunate cases, outright hostile. They deserve proper respect and recognition for their honorable service and sacrifices. The New York State commemorative medals offer a form of recognition and appreciation to those who served in these wars."

Legislation (S.1961B/A3913B) requires employers to display a poster containing information on veterans' benefits and services which shall be created and distributed by the Department of Labor. The poster must be displayed in an area accessible to all employees by employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees.

State Senator John E. Brooks said, "Our veterans have risked their lives to protect our freedoms and way of life - the very least we could do is ensure that when they return home, the last thing they need to worry about is the accessibility of obtaining the federal and state benefits due to them. The vast majority of veterans in New York are unaware that they are due billions of dollars in benefits for their service — for this reason, I am very grateful that Governor Hochul has signed this bill into law so that a central location where these benefits and services can be posted is created where more veterans can be reached. While this is a small step in a long road toward getting the word out and getting this money in the pockets of our veterans, it marks an important step towards addressing veteran homelessness, mental health issues, and their overall financial wellbeing."

Assemblymember Karen McMahon said, ""After providing selfless service to our nation, veterans and military families deserve our support as they transition back to civilian life. This legislation requires a standardized workplace posting that will ensure information regarding veterans' services and resources is readily available. I thank Governor Hochul for honoring all military veterans by signing this legislation today, as we recognize their sacrifice on Veterans Day."

Legislation (S.6022B/A.5278B) adds veterans who have qualifying conditions or who were unfairly discharged because of their LGBTQ identities to certain provisions that apply to veterans who have been honorably discharged or released from military service. The law extends the Retirement and Social Security Law, in relation to providing credit for military service to members of the State public retirement systems.

State Senator Brad Hoylman said, "During the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' era, LGBTQ veterans were dishonorably discharged, robbing them of a career and important retirement benefits under state law. We helped fix this by restoring dozens of New York State benefits to them under our "Restoration of Honor Act" passed in 2019. Now, on this Veterans Day, we further remedy this unequitable and discriminatory situation through our bill to ensure that LGBTQ vets discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are eligible to participate in the State's military buyback program for retirement and pension benefits. I'm grateful to Governor Hochul for signing my bill with Assemblymember Barrett, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for bringing this bill for a vote, and SAGE Vets for their advocacy. Because of this legislation, our LGBTQ veterans will get the benefits they've earned in service of our country, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression."

Legislation (S.2238B/A6551B) establishes a "reserved bed day" policy for persons residing in State Veterans' Homes, including veterans, spouses and widows of veterans, Gold Star Parents, and their dependents. A "reserved bed day" is a day for which the State pays a New York State Veterans' Home to hold the bed open for a qualified resident while he or she is temporarily hospitalized so the resident has a bed to return to in the State Veterans' Home.

State Senator John E. Brooks said, "I would like to thank Governor Hochul for signing this important bill into law that will protect our most vulnerable veterans. For anyone residing in a State Veterans' Home, they will now be protected should they ever need to temporarily seek care elsewhere and will not be forced to surrender their spot in the Home. It is not uncommon that our State Veterans' Homes are at full capacity, and, under the current system, if a veteran needed to leave for a day or two for a procedure or specialized care, they would be unable to return or maintain their reserved spot because it would have already been given to another veteran on the wait list. As a result, this bill is a huge victory in ensuring that the most vulnerable members of our military community are unburdened by the stressors that come with finding and keeping a steady source of shelter."

Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages said, No veteran should be at risk of losing their place in a New York State Veterans’ Home because they face a medical emergency. By requiring facilities across the state to establish a bed hold policy, we will protect the livelihoods of veterans and ensure they have access to quality care and housing. This law will also offer financial reimbursement to New York State Veterans’ Homes to allow them to stay afloat during financially difficult times. I thank Governor Hochul for supporting this legislation and acknowledging the veterans who have served our country."

Legislation (S.7068A/A.7728A) provides for no interest rate for certain linked loans for certified service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprises and provides support and financing necessary to carry out a procurement contract with an agency or authority or other entity of the state or federal government.

State Senator John E. Brooks said, "The notion of the American Dream, where anyone - regardless of their financial situation - can pursue a dream and prosper from it, is what makes this country so great. For our military veterans who helped defend the very core foundations of our county, this dream should be even more accessible. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this piece of legislation into law in recognition of our veterans who have sacrificed so much. Having given some of their most important years to our country when they could have instead been starting and building a business, our veterans will now be afforded with an opportunity to follow-through on their own entrepreneurial dreams."

Assemblymember Steve Stern said, "I am so proud my legislation supporting business owners who have sacrificed so much for our great Nation has been signed into law. The Excelsior Linked Deposit Program will empower our disabled service veterans to access critical financing to help their businesses grow in New York State and ensure that we don't just celebrate our military and their families only certain days on the calendar, but every day, with meaningful support that promotes economic development and recognizes the selfless service of our hometown heroes. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this important legislation."

Legislation (S.8729/A.9590) directs the Division of Veterans' Services to develop a searchable database of veterans' memorials located within the state that includes information regarding the location of a memorial and which veteran or battle the memorial is honoring.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. said, "As a Marine Corps veteran, I am proud to have introduced this legislation that is now signed into law, for Veterans Day. The creation of this searchable database of veterans memorials located within the state, will allow families, friends and the public to more easily access these sites and pay their respects to these dedicated individuals who have served our country, and continue to give them the honor that they deserve."

Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, "On Veterans Day, when people across New York gather at monuments and memorials to recognize and honor our veterans and their families, it is most fitting that our legislation creating a statewide registry of veterans memorials be signed into law today. I thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her support of both this timely bill and our expansion of the Restoration of Honor Act.”

Legislation (S.8367/A.9183) authorizes Niagara County to waive by local law certain fees for veterans' organizations, including but not limited to building permit review fees and fees associated with capital improvements to any post or hall owned by a veterans' organization located in the county.

State Senator Robert G. Ortt said, "This law will help our local veterans' organizations maintain and expand their facilities, which stand as pillars of their communities with the services they provide and the heroes they honor."

Assemblymember William Conrad said, "Our veterans organizations provide the men and women who have served our military with access to the social, emotional and practical support they deserve. We cannot overstate how important these organizations and their gathering places are to our communities and those they serve. It was my honor to sponsor this bill in the Assembly, to help ease the financial burden of capital improvements to veterans halls and posts. I want to thank my colleagues for their bipartisan backing of this legislation, and I am especially grateful to Governor Hochul for signing it into law."

These 17 landmarks and bridges will be illuminated in green as part of Operation Green Light to recognize the service and commitment of veterans and service members:

  • 1WTC
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds - Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • The "Franklin D. Roosevelt" Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Grand Central Terminal - Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • The Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex
  • The Lake Placid Olympic Center
  • MTA Long Island Rail Road - East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
  • Moynihan Train Hall

Michael Middaugh, President of the New York State County Veteran Service Officers Association and Director of Tioga County Veteran Service Agency said, "As veterans ourselves, we understand the sacrifices made by both the veteran and their families for which just saying "thanks" seems to not be enough. Operation Greenlight is a small way that everyone in all of our communities can let our veterans know how much that service and sacrifice mean to us and a real way to say thanks! We are honored to partner with Governor Hochul and the Division of Veteran Services to "Shine a Green Light" of awareness and hope and to honor our heroes who have given so much in service to their Country."

MaryEllen Odell, President of the New York State County Executives' Association and Putnam County Executive said, "Whether it was defending freedom and democracy on faraway shores or keeping our homeland secure, every one of our veterans have made incredible sacrifices that deserve to be recognized and honored. Operation Green Light is one small way we can show our veterans and their families that we are grateful for their sacrifices, and we're honored to have Governor Hochul and the Division of Veterans' Services join us in shining a green light of hope and support for our heroes."

Michael E. Zurlo, President of the New York State Association of Counties and Clinton County Administrator said, "The State of New York and our counties play a crucial role in supporting our veteran community, helping connect vets to the benefits and services that they've earned. We're incredibly proud to once again partner with Governor Hochul and the Division of Veterans' Services to not only create a visible symbol of our gratitude and support, but also raise awareness of the resources available to these heroes, many of whom still carry invisible wounds from their service to our nation."

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640

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