Governor Beshear signs bills to support Kentucky National Guard families and veterans

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Photos by Tech. Sgt. Jason Ketterer, Kentucky National Guard Visual Information

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FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Steve Beshear today signed into law several bills benefitting Kentucky veterans and families of the Kentucky National Guard.

“These bills address several serious concerns affecting Kentucky’s citizen soldiers and our veterans,” Governor Beshear said. “My thanks and congratulations to the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Military Affairs, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Kentucky’s Circuit Court Clerks and the Tourism Cabinet for their cooperation and hard work in making all of these a reality.”

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Ellie Maggard helps Governor Steve Beshear sign into law a provision that gives financial aid to Kentucky National Guard families seeking to adopt children. Looking on are First Lady Jane Beshear, Freddie Maggard, Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini and Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Maggard. Ellie is the adopted daughter of Freddie and Jennifer Maggard. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Ketterer, Kentucky National Guard Visual Information)

Among the new laws are provisions that:

–  Allow money in the military family assistance trust fund to be used for the Kentucky National Guard Adoption Assistance Program.

–  Increase the number of military family assistance trust fund board members from 6 to 7, to require the appointment of a member of the Kentucky National Guard to the board, and to stagger terms for appointed board members.

–  Ensure police officers receiving the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund salary supplement shall continue to receive the supplement when called to active duty with the United States Armed Forces.

–  Establish the Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial Committee for purposes of establishing the Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial; establish the Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial Fund to be administered by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

–  Create a new section of KRS Chapter 2 to define “Prisoner of War and Missing in Action flag,” and require that any such flag either purchased or displayed by a public institution be manufactured in the United States.

–  Provide veteran’s designations on driver’s licenses.

“The men and women of the Kentucky National Guard are grateful for the support of our Commander-in-Chief, Governor Beshear, the legislature and the citizens of the Commonwealth for the creation of these laws,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky.  “Today’s bill signing shows that we have identified several critical needs and have in turn taken direct and effective action to support our citizen soldiers and airmen.  Whether they are deployed overseas or supporting our communities here at home, our troops can proudly say that Kentucky is indeed committed to the welfare of the National Guard family.”

“As the mother of an adopted child I can tell you that this bill really hits home,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Maggard, a Kentucky National Guard helicopter pilot who attended the event.  “Adoption will become much easier for Guard families after today’s signing.”

Today’s bill signing also brings significant benefits for law enforcement officers who are perform double duty as Citizen Soldiers.

“The Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund salary supplement is a great help to law enforcement families during deployments,” said Staff Sgt. Randy Charles, a member of the Frankfort police department who also serves in the Kentucky National Guard.  “It’s good to know that the citizens of Kentucky support police officers who wear the military uniform.”

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