State Rep. Gifford joins legislators in supporting veterans

Nov 11, 2017

Just days before the nation observed Veterans Day, State Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham) joined with her colleagues to support legislation honoring Massachusetts’ veterans for their service while also approving funding for a new Soldiers Home in Chelsea.

“As Americans, we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to our veterans,” said Gifford. “I’m proud to support these initiatives in recognition and appreciation of their service to our country.”

On Nov. 8, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 4018, which allows municipalities to establish a local Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Celebration Fund, and House Bill 2763, which provides for the designation of special veterans-only parking spaces at city and town halls. Both bills passed unanimously.

Legislators also gave initial approval to a $199 million bond proposal to pay for the design and construction of a new Soldiers Home in Chelsea, more than half of which is eligible for federal reimbursement. The authorization was included as part of a capital improvement bond bill, House Bill 4015, which passed on a vote of 156-0.

Established in 1882, the Chelsea Soldiers Home offers housing and personal health care services to Massachusetts veterans. The state plans to build a new 154-bed facility that will provide the state’s veterans with a community living center for long term care.

House Bill 4018, sponsored by Representative Donald Wong (R-Saugus), authorizes cities and towns to include a check-off box on their municipal property tax or motor vehicle excise tax bills, or a separate form enclosed with these bills, for residents to make a voluntary donation over and above the amount owed on their tax bills. These donations will then be used to help fund the creation and restoration of municipal war monuments and to support other local activities honoring the contributions and sacrifices of the community’s veterans.

House Bill 2763, sponsored by Representative Claire Cronin (D-Brockton), requires a designated parking space to be made available free of charge to veterans at all city and town hall parking lots during regular business hours. Non-veterans who park illegally in these spots will be subject to a $100 fine and the potential towing of their vehicle.

All three bills now move to the Senate for further action.

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