Sen. Rafferty introduces Veterans Bill of Rights proposal

Posted: April 06, 2021 | Senator Rafferty, Veterans and Legal Affairs

AUGUSTA — On Monday, Sen. Joe Rafferty, D-Kennebunk, introduced a Veterans Bill of Rights proposal, which would help guarantee veterans in Maine have access to vital services. LD 827, “An Act To Help Veterans Access Jobs, Education and Housing,” was the subject of a public hearing in the Legislature’s Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs.

Sen. Joe Rafferty

“I think we can all agree that providing these resources to Maine veterans and active duty service members is a small token of gratitude we could provide for them, given all they have done and continue to do for us, our communities and our country. Investing in their education will help them prepare for the future and strengthen our state’s school systems overall. Lastly, I find it unacceptable that our service members can return home with no roof over their head.” said Sen. Rafferty. “While I understand these are complex issues, this bill provides us a path forward to help more service members and veterans who call Maine home.”

LD 827 would help veterans living in Maine have better access to jobs and employment services, post-secondary education and housing. Maine has one of the highest percentages of veterans by population in the country. While many initiatives exist in Maine to address these issues, the bill would ensure these services are able to continue as needed.

This bill is similar to legislation submitted in the 129th Legislature, LD 2145, sponsored by Sen. Mike Carpenter, D-Houlton, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Both bills are also similar to proposals submitted in 11 other states. LD 2145 died when the Legislature adjourned early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LD 827 goes hand-in-hand with LD 374, “An Act To Allow Veterans, Active Duty Service Members and Their Spouses To Apply for Temporary Occupational Licenses and Certifications,” which is sponsored by Sen. Chip Curry, D-Belfast. LD 374 received unanimous approval from the Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business.

LD 827 faces further action in committee.