Thursday, May 26, 2016





Queens, NY (May 26, 2016): 

At the recent 2016 NYS Senate Veterans’ Hall of
Fame induction ceremony in Albany, which was followed by the Senate passage
of several bills of importance to former military members, NYS Senator
Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. was proud to honor United States Army veteran Eugene
“Gene” Burch, a Forest Hills resident and long-time American Legion Post
#1424 leader and member in Queens.

“Gene served our nation with honor and bravery during the Vietnam War, and

is an integral member of our community who has worked hard on behalf of
local veterans through the American Legion and has contributed in many
other ways to our local quality of life through his affiliation with the
Forest Hills Community and Civic Association, United Cerebral Palsy of
Queens, and the Metro-Forest Chamber of Commerce,” said Addabbo, who serves
as the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland
Security and Military Affairs.  “I am proud to have Gene as a constituent,
and it was a privilege to name him to the 2016 NYS Senate Veterans’ Hall of

After the Senate approved a resolution officially honoring this year’s 63

Veterans’ Hall of Fame inductees from all areas of New York State, who were
each chosen by their local senator, several pieces of legislation were
passed to assist veterans with a variety of educational, financial and
health issues.

“We have an obligation to our veterans – regardless of their age, length of

service, and where and when they served – to ensure they are able access
decent health care, afford their homes, expand their educational horizons,
and otherwise participate fully in our society upon their return from
active duty,” said Addabbo.  “I am gratified that both the Senate and
Assembly recently passed the public employee veterans’ pension buyback
legislation I co-sponsor for the third time, and I am hopeful the Governor
will finally approve it. But as we wait for action on this vital
initiative, we are also working on other proposals to improve the lives of
our former members of the military.”

The following bills were approved by the Senate with Addabbo’s support

following the Veterans’ Hall of Fame ceremonies on May 24th:

S.3408 would enable honorably discharged veterans who are returning from

active service and who were unable, for whatever reason, to earn a high
school diploma to be awarded a diploma based on the knowledge and
experience they gained in the military.  The bill is very similar to
legislation sponsored by Addabbo in past years.

S.2263 would provide veterans who were honorably discharged to audit

college courses free of charge, on a space-available basis, at State
University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY)

S.2245 would allow school districts throughout the State, or the City

Council in New York City, to adopt local laws providing veterans who bought
their homes using “eligible funds” with a partial exemption from school
taxes.  Eligible funds include pension, bonus and insurance monies.

S.1200 would increase annuities provided by the State to veterans and their

surviving spouses who are receiving Veterans Administration pension
benefits from $1299 to $1500 to reflect a cost of living adjustment.

S.6577 would create a personal income tax check-off to allow state

residents to contribute to a new Veterans’ Home Assistance Fund to support
New York’s five skilled nursing facilities for former military members,
including the nursing home at St. Albans.

S.3137 would require the State Division of Veterans’ Affairs to offer more

information on its website about health care options for veterans. In
addition, it would mandate that hospitals ask patients about their veteran
status and provide them with information about health care benefits and
programs if they are former servicemen and women.

The latter bill, S.3137, has been approved by both the Senate and Assembly

and will be sent to the Governor for final action.  The other proposals are
under review by various committees in the State Assembly that address
specific policy and fiscal issues.


Janet K. Kash
Albany Communications Director
Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
613 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY  12247

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