Bill Would Expand Veterans’ Benefits

In Olympia, lawmakers are working to increase the number of military veterans who can receive state benefits based on their service.  Dan Frizzell from the House Democratic Caucus has more.

As Representative Dave Paul sees it, the war on terror has blurred the line between what is a war zone and what isn’t, and who deserves enhanced state veterans’ benefits and who doesn’t. Paul, a Democrat from the military-heavy 10th district, enlisted bipartisan support for his bill to extend those benefits to veterans who have earned the expeditionary medal by putting their lives on the line in support of U.S. military operations abroad. The bill, which officially expands the definition of ‘period of war,’ would help countless vets access pension benefits and civil-service preferences, among other things, that are currently only available to veterans who have been awarded a different honor, the campaign medal.  Here’s Paul:

PAUL: “This was brought to me by a constituent. We have folks that earned campaign medals that never saw hostile fire, we have folks that earned expeditionary medals who have. In my mind it is increasingly difficult to say that the folks who have earned the expeditionary medals don’t deserve those retirement benefits. The more I dug into the issue the more I became convinced that we ought to be addressing this.”

Paul’s veterans bill has a public hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon in the House Appropriations Committee.  At the state Capitol in Olympia, Dan Frizzell.