Massachusetts lawmakers approve veterans bill

Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers have passed a bill designed to build on an existing law expanding opportunities and services for military personnel, veterans and their families.

The bill provides property tax relief and strengthens employment, educational and health care support services.

The legislation, known at the Valor Act II, creates a home modification program to help injured veterans stay in their homes. It also authorizes the Secretary of Veterans’ Services to establish enhanced training and certification for officials working on veterans’ benefits and services.

The bill also allows students enrolled in college, who are called to active duty, to either complete their course work without penalty after returning, or to withdraw and receive a tuition refund.

It also increases penalties for disturbing military funerals and helps guard against charity fraud.

The bill heads to Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk.