State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

On Veterans' Day, lawmakers point to bills that "make life better"

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 12, 2012 4:45 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

At a lodge overlooking the Pennsylvania National Guard training center at Fort Indiantown Gap, state lawmakers observed Veterans’ Day by highlighting several measures passed in recent months benefiting Pennsylvania’s men and women in uniform.

One law encourages state agencies to work with veteran-owned businesses. Another updates the Pennsylvania Code of Military Justice. Retiring Republican state Sen. Mary Jo White (Venango) applauded the work of the Senate’s committee for Veterans’ Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, saying it has done what it set out to do, “and that is not just say thank you to our veterans, to but to thank them in a very tangible way, by doing positive things for them that make life better for themselves and their families.”

Yet another measure signed into law before the end of the legislative session this fall provides additional funding for the state’s Veterans Trust Fund.

The fund supports grants to veterans’ organizations as well as the maintenance of monuments honoring veterans in the commonwealth. It will receive $1.7 million from the sale of the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children in Franklin County.

Starting within the next year and a half, it will also get some of the proceeds from the sale of special license plates honoring veterans.

“Please play up these license plates,” said Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong). “For a veteran, it costs nothing other than the regular license plate renewal.” Non-veterans will be able to purchase the special plates for $35. For every plate sold, $15 will go toward the Veterans Trust Fund.

Motorists will also have the chance to donate $3 to the fund when they renew their licenses and vehicle registrations.

“Every grateful American knows that thank you is never enough,” said Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), who sponsored the Veterans Trust Fund legislation. “We must show our gratitude in actions, not just our mere words.”

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