March 22, 2016

Gov. Pence Signs 13 Bills Aiding Military Servicemembers, Veterans

Retired Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger, former head of the Indiana National Guard, inroduces Gov. Mike Pence during a bill signing ceremony Tuesday. - Brandon Smith

Retired Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger, former head of the Indiana National Guard, inroduces Gov. Mike Pence during a bill signing ceremony Tuesday.

Brandon Smith

INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Mike Pence Tuesday signed more than a dozen bills he says will expand benefits and opportunities for Indiana’s military servicemembers and veterans.

Retired Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger was one of more than two dozen people gathered around the governor as he signed 13 bills into law.  Umbarger, who led the Indiana National Guard for 11 years,  says he’s particularly pleased with one that expands the Military Family Relief Fund.  That program was originally created to help post-9/11 veterans pay food, housing, utility, transportation and medical bills.  Umbarger says the legislation extends that help to all veterans.

“It isn’t a fund that’s set to sustain you if you’re unemployed or things…it’s just to give you a shot in the arm, if you will, to kind of help you through whatever adversity that have,” Umbarger said.

Another bill eliminates the maximum age requirement for veterans seeking to join police or fire departments.  Pence says the legislation would not apply the current limit of 36 years old to those who’ve served in the military.

“If you’ve worn a uniform of the armed forces, we want to see more and more of you wearing a uniform back here at home,” Pence said.

Other bills include a measure to expand Medicaid to active-duty National Guard members and legislation to expand property tax deductions for disabled vets.

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