Bills for veterans resources, vocational education, receive favorable reports

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Adam Scanlon

This week, Rep. Scanlon received news from the house as six of his bipartisan sponsored bills were reported out favorably in their respective committee. This includes two bills pertaining to improved resources for veterans, a judiciary bill protecting persons with disabilities, a bill implementing a tax cap for low-income seniors, as well a crucial vocational education bill that will improve access to these services for all members of the community.

The first of the five bills that Rep. Scanlon has seen reported favorably out of committee is the Education Committee’s redraft of H.699, an act relative to vocational education, which would create the Office of Career and Technical Education. Sen. John Cronin of Lunenburg is also a sponsor of this bill.

This bill would expand access as well as strengthen programs within vocational education, promote collaboration between vocational schools and academic high schools, and further professionalize DESE to ensure that Massachusetts continues to be the highest standard in career and technical education to meet the needs of our workforce.

Accompanying this bill was a letter signed on by over 50 members of the house and senate, displaying the strong support for the provisions included in the bill.

I believe that this is an essential step to expanding access to the highest quality vocational education and further maintaining the Commonwealth’s position as a global leader in education,” said Scanlon.

As well as the vocational education bill, two bills related to improved resources for veterans reported favorably out of committee. Bill H.3690 makes it easier for veterans and military medics to become EMT’s in the Commonwealth. This legislation supports the transition from military to civilian life of veterans and bolsters the workforce at the frontline of the pandemic. Bill H.3689 relative to providing for Prisoners of War exempts incomes received by prisoners of war from the state income tax. The bill establishes a lifetime state income tax exemption for prisoners of war.

Rep. Scanlon’s bill, H.2203, had already been reported favorably in December. It would allow municipalities to provide non-handicapped veteran parking spots in off street parking lots, large retail parking lots and parking garages. With many veterans not qualifying for reserved handicapped parking spaces, the provision in this bill seeks to provide veterans with a resource that is well deserved.

H.1870, An Act relative to protecting persons with disabilities, ensures increased protections for persons with mental disabilities who have experienced rape and/or sexual abuse, as well as establishing the ability for courts to assess strict penalties on the perpetrators of these crimes. Members of the community with disabilities are a group that deserves increased protection and Rep. Scanlon views this bill as a strong display of support for these persons.

Finally, H.3055, an act that would create a local-option property tax cap for low-income seniors, lightens the burden faced by many low-income seniors across the commonwealth. This bill allows any city or town to impose a cap on property taxes for low-income seniors. Cities and towns may choose to impose a property tax cap for homeowners aged 65+ as long as single filers income is $50,000 or less or married filers income is $60,000 or less and assets (not including primary residence and 1 motor vehicle) are $75,000 or less.