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Florida governor signs into law two bills intended to help veterans


(The Center Square) — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two bills on Thursday intended to support Florida veterans and their spouses.

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

HB 1329 revises existing programs and expands benefits for veterans in Florida. The programs are designed to help veterans ease into civilian life once they have left the military. The bill also provides free hunting and fishing licenses for disabled veterans.

“As a veteran I will tell you that I’m proud of what Florida does for veterans, we’re the most veteran-friendly state in all of these United States,” DeSantis said, adding that whenever someone would be assigned to Florida, they would always maintain residency in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis said that he sees this as a very positive thing for the state and its communities and added that state officials have streamlined opportunities for veterans to enter into other career paths once they leave the military.

DeSantis noted that he wants to make Florida a good place for veterans and their spouses and added that spouses of active duty military members are serving too.

“We have a military member certification pathway that I mentioned about teachers,” DeSantis said. “So we believe that military veterans have a lot to offer to young people and we’ve created an ability for them to get a five year temporary teaching certificate as they work towards their four-year degree.”

The Heroes in the Classroom program offers a recruitment bonus of $4,000 for veterans who want to become teachers and an additional $1,000 bonus for those who take up teaching jobs in high-demand areas.

DeSantis said that there are veterans that have very significant technical expertise in sciences. He added that the state also recognizes any technical training that they have had in the military, which can be applied to college credits.

DeSantis noted that the state has not raised tuition fees for state universities and colleges and that fees average around $6,300.

“There’s a lot of opportunities and we want to make sure that we’re helping the veterans realize those opportunities [and] training programs,” DeSantis said.