Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Military Measures Sail through State House; on Military Day, Lawmakers Recognize Those Who Serve and Try to Ease Their Burden

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Military Measures Sail through State House; on Military Day, Lawmakers Recognize Those Who Serve and Try to Ease Their Burden

Article excerpt

Byline: LILLY ROCKWELL

TALLAHASSEE -- A half-dozen military bills designed to offer more financial protection of Florida's military reservists and National Guard members and their families passed the House unanimously Tuesday.

Rep. Stan Jordan, head of the House committee that deals with the armed services, said the package of bills show Florida is a "military-friendly state."

"The little things that we've done to improve life for military members is something we can do and we ought to do, and we have done," said Jordan, R-Jacksonville. "And we've done a lot of them today."

Recognizing that an increasing number of reservists and Florida National Guard members are serving abroad since the start of the war in Iraq, most of the bills help military members and their families fight financial hardships.

But some pro-military proposals, such as Rep. Anne Gannon's "GI Plus Program" that would provide scholarships to college for soldiers who return to Florida after their service ends, never made it to the House floor. Another by Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, that allows someone to make a voluntary contribution to the Florida National Guard is stalling in the Senate.

The bills that did make it through the House include a proposal by Jordan (HB 1189) to loosen the eligibility requirements for a state scholarship that only children of deceased or disabled veterans have access to. Roughly 150 students received the scholarship last year, with an average award of $2,053.

Jordan's bill makes it so parents have to be Florida residents for one year, instead of five, and could have enrolled in the armed services in any state, instead of just Florida. It is unclear how many people this could impact.

A spokesman with the city's Military Affairs and Veterans Services department said the existing law that provides this scholarship should be publicized more and that more families could take advantage of it. Dexter Walker, the spokesman, said changes are only necessary in light of the situation in Iraq.

"Not until now has it really become an issue," he said. "You really won't see this law applied until well into the next 15 years when some of those children of servicemen and -women get to college age. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.