Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation today in support of Louisiana's veterans. HB 499 by Representative Henry Burns and SB 157 by Senator Robert Adley allow Louisiana veterans to have a "veteran" designation on their driver's license or state issued ID card. HB 499 and SB 157 are part of the Governor's 2012 legislative package.
Governor Jindal said, "Our veterans have lived a life of service and sacrifice for their fellow citizens, and this new law will enable them to use their driver's license or state issued ID card as proof of their military service. This designation will help the state improve outreach to our veterans, update them regarding available services, and allow veterans to access discounts and other services available to them."
Governor Jindal has taken a number of steps to support active members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families since taking office.
In 2012, Governor Jindal signed HB 945 by Representative Henry Burns to extend TOPS eligibility for students that voluntarily re-enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.
In 2012, Governor Jindal signed HB 590 by Representative Karen St. Germain to extend the exemption veterans currently have for the payment of fees to obtain a driver's license to also include special identification cards.
In 2012, Governor Jindal signed HB 732 by Representative Henry Burns to streamline professional licensing for military personnel and their spouses seeking employment in Louisiana by establishing procedures for military families to credit specialized training received in the military into equivalent non-military licenses and certifications.
In 2012, Governor Jindal signed HB 977 by Representative Henry Burns to expand eligibility to the Military Family Assistance Fund that was established to help members of the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana Military Reserves and their family members address financial hardships they may encounter as a result of their active-duty status.
Governor Jindal created the Louisiana Veterans Honor Medal in 2008, and since then, more than 30,000 medals have been awarded to Louisiana veterans.
Governor Jindal signed legislation in 2009 to ensure veterans get the care they deserve by expanding the eligibility requirements of the Louisiana War Veterans Homes to allow the state to serve a greater number of Louisiana veterans. Over 80,000 peacetime Louisiana veterans and their spouses are now eligible for service at the War Veterans Homes.
The Jindal Administration created LAVETBIZ in 2009, a program to assist Louisiana veterans who own their own business.
In 2008, Governor Jindal signed an Executive Order that made Louisiana the third state to participate in the United States Army Partnership for Youth Success Program that encourages employers, like the state of Louisiana, to recruit former Army active and reserve members.
Over the past few years, Veterans Affairs has increased federal compensation and pension payments to Louisiana veterans by $36 million in the last fiscal year. This provides additional benefits to more than 304,000 Louisiana veterans.
Since 2008, the Jindal Administration has increased the presence of service offices with locations now open in every parish across the state. These parish offices provide veterans with local access to trained Veterans Assistance Counselors who help veterans and their families secure the benefits they earned through their military service. Louisiana now ranks 13th in the nation in benefits and compensation payments to veterans on a per capita basis.