STATEHOUSE (May 15, 2012) — State Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville) gathered with fellow lawmakers today at a ceremonial bill signing held by Gov. Mitch Daniels to celebrate three of Indiana’s newest support initiatives for military families: House Enrolled Act 1059, House Enrolled Act 1065 and House Enrolled Act 1116.
• HEA 1059 extends the eligibility period for full-time military and National Guard members and their dependents to receive assistance from the state’s Military Family Relief Fund from one year to three years after their active duty service ends. The Indiana Division of Veteran Affairs reports over $700,000 in grants have been awarded to almost 300 families since the fund was activated in 2007.
• HEA 1065 — sponsored by Tomes — allows a court, upon petition of a parent who has received military deployment orders, to delegate all or part of his or her parenting time during deployment to someone who has a close relationship with the child. The new law also allows parents to participate in custody hearings electronically if military service prevents them from being there in person.
• HEA 1116 — also sponsored by Tomes — waives professional license training requirements for military members who have learned and practiced the necessary skills during their service time. The law additionally requires state colleges and universities to award credit to members of the military who complete courses that are a part of military training, meet national standards and fit within the school’s role, scope and mission.
“We need to do everything we can to help our veterans during their transition into civilian life, including making it easier for them to translate the skills they’ve learned into jobs and college credit,” Tomes said. “Expanding financial aid resources for struggling military families helps provide basic needs like food and shelter for those who have sacrificed so much for our country. Ensuring military parents can give their children valuable time with a trusted loved one gives them some peace of mind while they’re away. These are all small things we can do to simply say ‘thank you.’”
Tomes is a Vietnam War veteran and commander of Wadesville VFW Post 6576.