Governor Kulongoski Honors Oregon Troops & Their Families with Veterans Appreciation Package

Governor Kulongoski recently signed a series of legislation that will expand educational opportunities and provide targeted financial assistance for Oregon Veterans, Oregonians on active deployment overseas, and their families here at home.

“Today we are here to honor the men and women who have served Oregon and our country through military service,” Governor Ted Kulongoski. “Too often, our soldiers are paid only in lip service, but with this package of legislation, we are making a commitment as a state to support those who risked their lives and their futures to defend us, our freedoms, and the principles that serve as the foundation of this great nation.”

As a former Marine, Governor Kulongoski has seen firsthand the challenges of being in the military and feels passionately about supporting Oregon’s troops. This is why he has made sure that their sacrifices are well rewarded by creating the Oregon Veterans’ Emergency Financial Assistance Fund and a tax refund check-ff to contribute to the cause. The Governor has also eliminated penalties for college students who are called to active duty. Benefits include making sure that financial assistance is given to both veterans’ attending college who agree to teach in Oregon as well as their immediate families. Additionally, veterans are allowed free hunting and angling licenses.

HB 3504, HB 2681, SB 1100, and SB 233 are bills that expand access for Oregon Veterans and their families to education, job and skills training, homeownership, and emergency financial assistance.

House Bill 3504: Creates the Oregon Veterans’ Emergency Financial Assistance Fund within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide emergency financial assistance to veterans and their immediate families to cover temporary housing, food, transportation or medical costs; Expands the education benefit program in the Department of Veterans Affairs from $35/month to $150/month to supplement coursework or professional skills training at an accredited state school for the duration equivalent to active service up to 36 months; Establishes the Oregon Troops to Teachers program to pay tuition for those veterans who attend college and commit to teach in Oregon; and requires the Oregon Military Department to reimburse active members of the armed forces for the cost of hunting and fishing licenses.

House Bill 2681: Requires school districts to issue high school diplomas to veterans who did not complete high school because of wartime military service since the Korean War and who request the diploma (veteran, must have a GED certificate, a post-secondary degree, or a minimum score as determined by the Oregon Military Department on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery); Makes future combat veterans eligible also for the benefit.

Senate Bill 233: Supports homeownership for Oregon Veterans by expanding a home loan and assistance program within the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs that helps connect below-market interest rate loans to qualified, eligible veterans for home acquisition and home improvement loans. The loan program is increased from 97 percent to 100 percent of the net appraised value on homes that are real property; 85 percent of the net appraised value on homes that are not real property; and 90 percent of the net appraised value on farms that are real property.

Senate Bill 1100: Complements HB 3504 by expanding the reach of the Oregon Military Emergency Financial Assistance Fund for the Oregon Military Department to provide hardship grants and loans to members and immediate family of Oregon National Guard members on active duty; Provides tax refund check-off for Oregonians to contribute to the Fund; Establishes program in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to enhance and expand services to be provided by county veterans’ service office; and allows students attending post-secondary schools who have been called to active duty options to complete their course work or withdraw from courses without penalty.

Posted on December 1, 2005
Front Page News, Veterans and Military