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8/9/2016 Several bills that expand opportunity for Veterans signed into law
STATE HOUSE – Governor Gina M. Raimondo, joined by Rep. Jan P. Malik, Sen. Walter S. Felag, Jr., Director of Veterans Affairs Kasim Yarn, and Brigadier General Christopher Callahan, Adjutant General of the state of Rhode Island, today ceremonially signed several new bills to strengthen the state's commitment to veterans and their families. The diverse laws include measures that make it easier for businesses to hire veterans, protect reservists from discrimination related to their military service, honor the fallen at the Veterans Cemetery, and allow veterans to receive their medical records at no cost when applying for benefits.

Representative Malik (D-Dist. 67, Warren, Barrington) was the lead sponsor of these bills in the House of Representatives and serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

"The veterans and members of the National Guard of Rhode Island have risked so much while ensuring our American way of life can continue and with these risks comes problems and repercussions for our veterans when they return home from battle," said Representative Malik. "We as citizens should be thanking our veterans in every way possible for their dedication to our country and this legislative package demonstrates that we value and respect the price our soldiers have paid while they sacrificed for the good of our country."

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans' Affairs, Senator Felag (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), sponsored four of the bills ceremonially signed today.

"Our society's debt can never be fully repaid to our veterans and National Guard members but these pieces of legislation are a small way to thank them for their service to us all," said Senator Felag. "These brave and selfless soldiers serve our country by leaving their domestic lives behind to answer the call to service when needed and it is our duty to recognize and honor their sacrifices so the American people are able to live a life of freedom and prosperity."

The following bills were signed today:

·         Sponsored by Representative Malik and Senator Felag, this bill (2016-H 7441A / 2016-S 2567A) prohibits recreational dog walking in the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

·         Also sponsored by Representative Malik and Senator Felag, this legislation (2016-H 8036 / 2016-S 2886) allows private employers to adopt an employment policy that provides a preference in hiring or promotion, or both, to a veteran.

·         Once again sponsored by Representative Malik and Senator Felag, this bill (2016-H 8037A / 2016-S 2888aa) protects the jobs of Rhode Island employees serving in National Guard units in Rhode Island or any other state.

·         Sponsored by Representative Malik and Senator Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), the bill (2016-H 8319 / 2016-S 2296A) requires health care providers to provide veterans copies of their medical records at no charge if the records are used to apply for benefits of any kind.

·         Sponsored by Representative Malik and Senator Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), this legislation (2016-H 7120 / 2016-S 2073) changes the name of the Central Bridge in the town of Barrington to the "Barrington Veterans' Memorial Bridge".

·         Sponsored by Representative Malik and Senator Felag, this bill (2016-H 8184 / 2016-S 2905A) corrects the law reflecting the dedicated space for Veterans' organizations to the William F. Powers Building and updates the list of chartered Veterans' organizations who can use the space.

From the left: Veterans Director Kasim Yarn, Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne, Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro, Sen. Walter S. Felag, Jr., Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Adjutant General of the Rhode Island National Guard Christopher Callahan, Rep. Eileen S. Naughton, and Rep. Jan P. Malik at a ceremonial bill signing at Warren Town Hall


For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401)222-6124