Arkansas veterans

The Arkansas House wants the public to know what the state is doing to serve veterans.

Weekly column written for members of the Arkansas House of Representatives:

We owe all of our veterans a debt we can never fully repay.

As Veterans Day approaches, we want to thank all of you who have served and who now continue to live and work in Arkansas.

Arkansas is home to more than 225,000 veterans. Of those, 186,000 served in time of war.

Whether they served in time of war or peace, our veterans all share a common bond -- their unwavering belief in the cause of freedom, a belief so strong they were willing to give their lives, if need be, in its defense.

We want to remind you about more recent legislation passed to keep our state a place where veterans and active military feel appreciated.

Act 141 will exempt military retirement benefits from state income tax beginning next year. We join 13 other states in doing this.

Around 26,000 Arkansans are currently receiving retirement pay.

We have also passed legislation to provide tuition assistance for soldiers and airmen of the Arkansas National Guard.

Act 741 allows a soldier or airman of the Arkansas National Guard to attend a state-supported institution of higher education tuition-free.

Act 204 requires the medical board, nursing board, pharmacy board, and dental board to waive annual renewal fees for active military members.

Act 131 states the driver’s license of military member will not expire while the individual is living out of state if he or she applies for an extension of the expiration date.

And Act 807 allows the Department of Veteran Affairs to create a data collection system to locate veterans and military families living in Arkansas. The information would be used to make sure they have access to information and resources available to them.

Our work on veteran affairs is a continual process. In the months ahead, many of us will be looking at new proposals to introduce in the next regular session.

South Arkansas state representatives:

District 2 – (Parts of Columbia, Lafayette and Miller counties). Lane Jean, Republican. 1105 Lawton Circle, Magnolia, 71753. 870-904-1856. l_jean@sbcglobal.net

District 5 (Parts of Columbia, Ouachita, Lafayette and Nevada counties) – David Fielding, Democrat. 909 S. Vine, Magnolia, 71753. 870-234-6143. david.fielding@house.ar.gov

District 6 – (Parts of Columbia, Union and Ouachita counties). Matthew J. Shepherd, Republican. 200 N. Jackson Ave. No. 600, El Dorado, 71730. 870-862-2087. matthew.shepherd@house.ar.gov

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