Governor DeSantis signs legislation to support Florida veterans and their families

Governor DeSantis held a press conference today in Land O’Lakes

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla.—Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 725 and House Bill 1329 to support Florida’s veterans and their families through services for veterans shifting to civilian life, ensuring spouses can enjoy long-term care together, and expanding benefits available for veterans.

“Florida is committed to remaining the most military- and veteran-friendly state in the nation,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We are proud to support those who have bravely served our country, and today’s legislation will help ensure that veterans and their families have the resources they need to successfully transition into civilian life with their loved ones by their side. It will also provide more benefits to veterans and educate future generations on the sacrifices made by service members.”

Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 725 and House Bill 1329 into law.

House Bill 725 expands the eligibility for admissions to a veterans’ long-term care facility to include spouses or surviving spouses of qualifying veterans.

The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs has 1,102 skilled nursing and assisted living beds in nine state Veterans’ Nursing Homes across the state and is currently in the process of adding a tenth home that will give Florida the most state-operated facilities in the nation. State Veterans’ Nursing Homes provide valuable services for veterans and their families, including:

  • Providing skilled nursing and hospice care;
  • Offering adult day health care;
  • Offering inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services; and
  • Housing wellness centers and veteran service offices.

House Bill 1329 focuses programs and expands benefits for veterans here in the state of Florida. More specifically, this bill:

  • Designates that Florida is for Veterans, Inc. (Veterans Florida), a non-profit created within the FDVA to help military veterans transition to civilian life, serves as the state’s initial point of contact for military transition assistance for veterans and their spouses reaching the end of their service career.
  • Increases Veterans Florida’s board of directors from nine to eleven members, with a new appointee allocated to both the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • Revises the Veterans Employment and Training Services Program to:
    • Match veterans and spouses with businesses within their preferred market and industry;
    • Encourage entrepreneurship and growing veteran-owned small businesses;
    • Prioritize grant funds for training, certification, and licenses;
    • Provide that businesses participating in the Veterans Employment and Training Services Program may also receive a grant under any other state-run program; and
    • Authorize Veterans Florida to assist state agencies in recruiting veteran talent into their workforce and maximize veteran access to benefits, services, training, and education.
  • Creates a fee exemption on hunting and fishing licenses for honorably discharged veterans with a qualifying service-connected disability.
  • Requires public school instruction on the history and importance of Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
  • Creates and funds the Major John Leroy Haynes Florida Veterans’ History Program to record the stories of Florida’s veterans and preserve them for future generations.

“Today’s bill signing is an important milestone as we proudly serve Florida’s veterans with purpose and passion,” ‎said retired Marine ‎Corps Major General James ‎S. Hartsell, Executive ‎Director of ‎the ‎Florida Department of ‎Veterans’ Affairs. “Admitting eligible spouses and surviving spouses into our State Veterans’ Homes is another great accomplishment to keep Florida the most Veteran friendly and sought after state in ‎the Nation. In addition, the Veterans Bill known as HB 1329 also creates new awareness programs honoring our State’s veterans and expands earned benefits for eligible Veterans and spouses. I commend Governor DeSantis and our legislators for supporting these two key bills.”

For more information regarding benefits and services available to veterans in the state of Florida, please visit FloridaVets.org. To contact a State Veterans’ Service Officer, call (727) 319-7440 and they will return your call within 24 hours. You may also contact them via email at FDVA.vso@FDVA.fl.gov.

For 24/7 counseling, call the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 988, then press 1. You may also call the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFL Vet (1-844-693-5838) or dial 211.

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