The NGAI legislative efforts in the Indiana General Assembly culminated with a call to action to support the Governor’s retired military pay tax exemption and to restore/increase the active military pay deduction…by the end of session, the current $5000 deduction was restored and a new $6250 deduction was created for retired pay. Although total exemptions did not pass, this session was still one of the biggest ever for Hoosier Veterans and set the stage for more substantial wins in the next General Assembly (100% exemption for Guard income and retirement.) We are already laying the groundwork for the next legislative session and will begin the process of engaging all of our Guardsmen to be ready for our next battle. Our members answered the call and made a difference this year; A total exemption will require a MASSIVE grassroots effort, so encourage your fellow Guardsmen now to be active in NGAI!
Last year, NGAI succeeded in their efforts to pass legislation that incorporated “Hoosier Veterans” in the definition of “Veteran,” in the Indiana Code, insuring that our National Guard and Reserve members were included in the recognition and benefits bestowed upon those who have served. The term, “Hoosier Veteran” also includes all Guardsmen that have completed their specialty training to reward and incentivize those in the National Guard who are on call 24/7 for both for military service abroad and aiding in emergencies at home.
BY ENGAGING THE NGAI MEMBERSHIP, WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE DIFFERENCE FOR GUARDSMEN:
- Giving priority to our Guardsmen, both present and future, in State hiring and training opportunities;
- Creating a formal link between the Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Veteran Affairs to coordinate and expand high-value job and training opportunities for Hoosier Veterans;
- Establishing statutory mandates to expedite professional licenses for Guardsmen and their spouses (including teacher’s licenses in a separate bill);
- Building educational support for new enlistees seeking their GED’s;
- Codifying the assurance that Guardsmen who work for the State will not lose seniority and income when activated;
- Increasing State financial support for Veteran Service Organizations and Veteran Service Officers;
- Adding 6 new Regional Veteran Service Officers to increase support for Hoosier Veterans in need;
- Saving the $5000 tax deduction for military pay; and creating a $6250 tax deduction for military retirement pay, in addition to eliminating the minimum age requirement of 60.
TELL YOUR FELLOW GUARDSMAN TO BE ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE NGAI!
Below is the NGAI “tracking list” from this recently past legislative session; there are links included, if you are interested in reading more about issues impacting our Guardsmen. Visit the NGAI website for more details on all of our legislative successes and initiatives for next year.
HB1001 STATE BIENNIAL BUDGET (BROWN T) Appropriates money for capital expenditures and for the operation of the state. The current military pay deduction was “inadvertently” omitted from one version and then reduced in another; NGAI worked to restore the deduction. NGAI also pushed for the exemption of ALL retired military pay from State taxation in this bill, which resulted in a separate $6250 deduction. (NGAI objective is to eventually exempt ALL military pay from taxation.) The budget also contains funding for veteran service organizations, which was supported by NGAI. State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1001
HB1007 EDUCATION COURSE ACCESS PROGRAM (COOK A) Allows the department of education (department) to authorize course providers to offer course access program courses that provide for the delivery of instruction through any method, including online technologies, in the course access program (program). Allows the state board of education to adopt emergency and nonemergency rules. This bill includes provisions for enlisted members of the Indiana National Guard. State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1007
HB1308 VARIOUS PROFESSIONAL LICENSING MATTERS (ZENT D) Requires the boards under the authority of the agency to expedite the issuance or renewal of licenses,
certificates, registrations, or permits to military spouses. (Current law requires the boards to adopt rules to expedite the issuance or renewal of licenses, certificates, registrations, or permits to military spouses.) State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1308
HB1324 ACTIVATION OF STATE EMPLOYEES (FORESTAL D) Provides that a state employee who is a member of the Indiana National Guard or a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States is entitled to: (1) a leave of absence without loss of time while on active duty; and (2) compensation in an amount that is equal to the difference between the member’s active duty military pay and the salary the member would have received if the member was not called to active duty. State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1324
HB1396 TEACHER LICENSING FOR MILITARY SPOUSES (MCNAMARA W) Requires the state board of education to adopt rules, including emergency rules, that establish procedures to expedite the issuance, renewal, or reinstatement of a teacher license to a military spouse whose husband or wife is assigned to a duty station in Indiana. (Current law allows, but does not require, the state board to adopt such rules.) State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1396
SB307 VETERAN PREFERENCE FOR EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING (HERSHMAN B) Requires the department of workforce development (department) to give a veteran or the spouse of a veteran priority for placement in any federal or state employment or training program administered by the department. Note: this Bill includes all Guardsmen with 100 days of continuous active duty. State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/307