New Jersey, Pennsylvania near benefits for vets

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, October 02, 2013

New Jersey and Pennsylvania are taking steps to provide new benefits to military veterans.

In the Garden State, truckers and others who served their country will soon have access to a simple form of ID showing their service.

Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law that entitles military veterans to a special designation on their driver’s licenses or identification cards.

Previously A691, the new law makes the Motor Vehicle Commission responsible for creating a veterans designation on the person’s license or ID upon request. The designation will be available for anyone who has been honorably discharged from active military service.

The governor said the change allows veterans to more easily take advantage of discounts offered by businesses or promotional programs.

“Plain and simple, this legislation will make life easier and more convenient for veterans of all ages,” Christie said in a news release. “With this single point of identification, veterans will now have easier access to services and discounts at businesses across the state.”

New Jersey is the 12th state to implement the rule. The program is expected to take 18 months to get up and running. At that time, eligible applicants can request the designation to be included.

Across the state line in Pennsylvania, one bill halfway through the statehouse would make it easier for veterans to get back to work driving truck.

Pennsylvania law already allows service personnel returning from duty to exchange their military CDL for a state-issued CDL without requiring a driving test. However, to be eligible applicants must have at least two years of experience driving a military commercial vehicle “immediately preceding” application for a CDL.

The Senate voted unanimously to advance one bill that would make the waiver available at any time after veterans return home.

Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Rochester, said the existing requirement is unnecessary.

“The military offers top-notch, real-life training that more than prepares its personnel to handle those vehicles,” Vogel stated. “We should provide every opportunity for service members and veterans to use their skills and training in the civilian world.”

SB277 awaits consideration in the House Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania, click here. To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

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