(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Gordon Johnson, Nancy Pinkin and Wayne DeAngelo to encourage returning service members to register with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs passed the full Senate on Monday, 34-0. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for further consideration.
Sponsors said the legislation aims to ensure returning veterans receive information on benefits and resources coordinated by the NJDMVA or its federal counterpart.
“Returning veterans deserve support and access to every resource we can provide and, by encouraging them to register we will be able to do just that,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland).
The bill (A-3499) requires the Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs to encourage the registration of a service member residing in New Jersey with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Registration would take place, as appropriate, when the service member returns from deployment on federal active duty or is discharged or as soon as possible thereafter. The list would include members of the New Jersey National Guard and members of the United States Armed Forces or Reserves.
“Allowing veterans to take advantage of the full range of benefits and resources available to them and their families is one of my top priorities. It is our duty to care for those who fight for us.” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic).
“This legislation helps us to ensure servicemen and women are afforded every opportunity possible to live their best lives after service,” said Johnson (D-Bergen).
“With a list, we can educate veterans on programs and benefits created especially for them and their families post-service,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex).
“Servicemen and women have made invaluable sacrifices that we can only begin to repay by ensuring each of them opportunity and access to important information as they readjust to civilian life,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex).
The bill was approved last year 75-0 by the Assembly in November and released by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee December.