Several Measures to Benefit Veterans Approved by House and Signed Into Law
10/26/2012

Several Measures to Benefit Veterans

Approved by House and Signed Into Law

The House recently sent to the governor, who then signed them into law, a package of bills aimed at helping the state’s veterans.  House Bill 2428 offers a special designation on Pennsylvania driver’s licenses for veterans who served in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, including reserve units or the National Guard, and who were discharged or released from such service under conditions other than dishonorable.  The cost of the regular renewal remains the same, but there’s no additional cost to the veteran for the special designation mark.  House Bill 2591 brings the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) into compliance with the Federal Heroes Earning Assistance and Relief Act of 2008 (HEART) and conforms Pennsylvania law regarding pension credit for military leave for state employees and SERS members with federal law.  Senate Bill 623 encourages stage agencies to contract with veteran-owned small businesses.  Under the new law, the Department of General Services has an annual statewide goal of not less than 3 percent participation in statewide contracts entered into by the department with veteran-owned small businesses, and provides training to help veteran-owned businesses learn how to apply for state contracts.  Senate Bill 1531 establishes guidelines and funding for the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund, which administers grants to the PA Veterans Foundation and other veterans’ and charitable organizations for the purposes of providing benefits to veterans and their families.  Revenue for the fund will come from proceeds paid by PennDOT from sales of a special “Honor Our Veterans” license plate and from contributions from a voluntary $3 check-off from driver license and vehicle registration renewals.  Senate Bill 1255 enacts the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act to simplify the process of absentee voting for United States military and overseas civilians in state elections conducted in Pennsylvania.  Senate Bill 1442 updates the Pennsylvania Code of Military Justice, which enforces order and discipline upon the Pennsylvania National Guardsmen who are not in active federal service under Title 10 of the United States Code.  The code has not been extensively updated since 1975, and many of the current provisions date back to the Military Code of 1949.  The law also establishes a State Military Justice Fund to pay expenses incurred in the administration of military justice and funded by fees and other money paid to the Commonwealth under the Pennsylvania Code of Military Justice.

 

Community Pharmacy Access Legislation Sent to Governor

 

The House recently sent to the governor legislation that would provide consumers a choice to use either retail community pharmacy services or mail-order pharmacy services.  Senate Bill 201 will create a level playing field so that community retail pharmacies may enter into a network and have the ability to offer the same terms and conditions, such as discounts and other incentives, that mail-order pharmacies offer.  Under the bill, the retail pharmacy must accept the same pricing, terms and conditions that an insurer has established for the mail-order pharmacy.  In addition, the bill will require a study to be performed by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee evaluating the impact of costs on individuals, independent and chain retail locations and health care plans.  The measure will offer individuals who previously may not have had the opportunity to now have face-to-face access to their local pharmacists, which will play an important role in the distribution of health care services in Pennsylvania.

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