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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Legislative Update - March 5, 2013

The 2013 Legislative Session is underway and will run until April 28, 2013.  So far, a number of bills have been introduced and are moving through the legislative process that will impact veterans and their families.

WDVA keeps a list of State Legislation on its website (www.dva.wa.gov  click About WDVA and Public Information) and also sends out a weekly email with the status of bills that the agency is monitoring. 

Below are summaries of 9 of the 32 bills that are currently on the list:

Gold Star License Plates: HB 1132 and SB 5161

Allows Gold Star spouses to receive Washington’s Gold Star License Plate.

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day: HB 1319

Declares March 30 of each year to be Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Washington State.  In addition to other holidays, public entities must display the POW/MIA flag on this day.

Veteran Owned Business: HB 1909 and SB 5834 (Governor request)

Asks public entities to do 5% of all purchasing and contracting with Veteran Owned Businesses certified by WDVA.  Allows spouses to jointly own a business as long as the veteran is involved in day to day operations.  Requires the veteran be a Washington State resident and the business be based in Washington State.

Veterans Innovations Program: SB 5273

Original Bill: Removes requirement for Washington’s Lottery to run a special Veterans Raffle to fund the Veterans Innovations Program and directs $300,000 of Lottery proceeds to the VIP.  Also eliminates expiration date of the VIP.

Substitute Bill: Removes the requirement for Washington’s Lottery to run a special Veterans Raffle, but does not direct any Lottery funds to the VIP.  Eliminates expiration date of the VIP.

Veterans Homes: HB 5691

Allows WDVA to operate the Walla Walla Veterans Home and eliminates outdated statutory language.

Veterans Designation on Driver’s License: SB 5775

Allows a person to apply to the Dept of Licensing to obtain a veteran designation on a driver’s license or identicard.

B&O Tax Exemption for Hiring Veterans: SB 5812 (Governor request)

Establishes the hire our heroes tax credit program.  Provides a B&O tax of up to $3,000 to businesses hiring unemployed veterans.

For more information on these or other bills, visit www.leg.wa.gov or e-mail heidia@dva.wa.gov .  You can also watch the legislature in action at www.tvw.org .

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