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New Legislation Would Make VVA Eligible for More Veteran's Benefits

New York State Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky has introduced legislation granting certain benefits and honoraria to the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), which they have never before received.

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Photo by: NYS Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky

Albany, NY - March 29, 2015 - On March 29th, 1973, the Vietnam War drew to a close, and since then New York has commemorated 'Vietnam Veterans Day' and 'Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day' on March 29th and March 30th, respectively. This week, timed to the observance of these sacred days, New York State Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky has introduced legislation granting certain benefits and honoraria to the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), which they have never before received. This legislation passed the Assembly’s Veterans’ Affairs committee earlier this week.
“The brave veterans who served in Vietnam sacrificed so much for our country, and we must honor that service appropriately,” Assemblyman Kaminsky said. “Vietnam Veterans of America provides invaluable resources to our veterans, and it deserves the same benefits as other similar organizations in our state. I am pleased that this bill has passed the Veterans' Affairs committee of the Assembly and look forward to the floor vote.”
Joe Ingino, president of Chapter #82 of the Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council, which represents the Vietnam Veterans of Nassau County, said “We thank Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, who has honored our members by advancing this legislation through the legislative process just before Vietnam Veterans Day.  The legislation places the Vietnam Veterans of America in the same category as some of the more traditional veteran organizations in New York State, and we applaud Assemblyman Kaminsky for shepherding this important bill.  It is a great way to recognize what the Vietnam Veterans did for our country.”
The bill authored by Assemblyman Kaminsky, Assembly Bill A6101, declares VVA to be a benevolent order and grants it various benefits that are available to other veterans' organizations in New York State, such as the storage of records, flags, relics, and other memorabilia for prominent display within the hallowed halls of state capitol. Specifically, the bill will:
  • Add the Vietnam Veterans of America to the list of organizations contained within the benevolent orders law, conferring the rights and privileges available under that law;
  • Require the state commissioner of general services to set aside suitably furnished space in the capital for quarters of the VVA for the preservation of its records, a benefit that was previously available only to the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars;
  • Allow VVA to host meetings in National Guard armories, like other veterans' organizations;
  • Fix various areas of the general municipal law and the general city law where VVA was omitted, allowing them to be designated as the veterans' organization responsible for the observance of Memorial and Veterans Day parades and ceremonies; and
  • Authorize the state bureau of war records to preserve and complete the records and relics of VVA to make as complete as possible the history and statistics of the wartime service of New York State residents.
The bill passed the New York State Senate on Thursday March 26, 2015, where it was sponsored by Senator Terrence Murphy.
“With dozens of chapters in New York, VVA does receive some of the benefits available to other veterans' organizations, such as tax exemptions and the ability to obtain a liquor license, yet there are other privileges to which VVA should be entitled but does not receive,” Senator Murphy said. “We waited too long to acknowledge and honor the service and sacrifice of these heroes. That changes today.”
Assemblyman Kaminsky said his legislation would ensure that VVA organizations are afforded the same benefits as other veterans' organizations in New York State so they can better support the next generation of America's war veterans and continue to serve our communities.