Weekly Column from the Arkansas House of Representatives 11-5-21

Arkansas is home to more than 200,000 veterans. They live and work in every community throughout our state.

As we approach Veterans Day, we would like to thank our veterans for their sacrifice, their bravery, and the example they set for us all.

The majority of Arkansas veterans served in Vietnam. We are home to more than 2,000 veterans who served in World War II. Arkansas is also home to those who served in the Korean War, the Gulf War, post 9-11, and in peacetime.

The Arkansas House is proud to have 12 veterans currently serving as a state representative.

Veterans contribute $4.5 to $5 billion to the Arkansas economy. If veterans were an industry, they’d be the 4th largest in Arkansas.

Every session, the General Assembly reviews legislation drafted to make life better for veterans and their families.

In the most recent session, we passed several pieces of legislation to address challenges facing veterans.

In the most recent legislative session, we passed Act 640. This act requires the Arkansas Department of Health to ensure that the Suicide Prevention Hotline employs individuals who have experience working with veterans or are veterans.

We also passed Act 58, which creates a veterans treatment specialty court program.

Act 988 expands tuition waivers for a dependent of a disabled veteran, a prisoner of war, or a person declared to be missing in action or killed in action. Previously the waivers were only applied to state-supported institutions of higher education. This act allows the use of those waivers to be used in private colleges and universities.

Act 888 waives the licensing fee for a license to carry a concealed handgun if the applicant is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces or is currently serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Act 135 establishes the Arkansas Occupational Licensing of Uniformed Service Members, Veterans, and Spouses Act of 2021. It expanded previously existing automatic occupational licensure requirements for uniformed services members, returning uniformed services veterans, and their spouses to include army reserve, national guard, and coast guard members who move to Arkansas with existing licensure from another state.

We will continue to study ways to continue to make Arkansas a welcoming place for our veterans and their families.

May all of us honor the service of our veterans this Veterans Day and every day of the year.

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