20 June 2023- The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33), today approved three measures, including one aimed at helping veteran-owned businesses in the commonwealth.
“We want to help our veterans who are looking to start a business and grow our economy,” Mastriano said. “Our veterans possess certain skills and abilities that can help them start and grow a business.”
The committee approved Senate Bill 438, which calls for the creation of a special logo to recognize and promote veteran-owned businesses in Pennsylvania.
“This special logo would be another way for customers to find and support local veteran-owned businesses in their communities,” Mastriano said. “This would be a new way for businesses to highlight their status as a veteran-owned operation.”
The committee also advanced Senate Bill 531, which would alter the membership of the committee that administers the Veterans’ Trust Fund under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The trust fund issues grants to statewide charitable organizations that help veterans, veteran assistance organizations and county directors of veterans affairs offices.
The bill would add the Republican and Democrat chairs of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs internal review committee, which administers the grant program.
The committee also approved Senate Resolution 46, which calls for the creation of a Task Force on Women Veterans’ Health Care. The task force would study health issues facing women veterans and make recommendations to the governor and General Assembly. There are nearly 60,000 women veterans in Pennsylvania.
“Men and women have different medical needs, and we want to make sure female veterans receive medical care tailored to their own requirements,” Mastriano said. “We want our female veterans to receive the best possible care that recognizes the inherent difference between men and women.”
The two bills and resolution now head to the full Senate for consideration.
The committee also gave a favorable recommendation to nine Pennsylvania National Guard Officers up for promotion:
PA Air National Guard
Brig. Gen. Mark A. Goodwill to major general
Col. Edward J. Fink, Jr. to brigadier general
Col. Rebecca A. Gray to brigadier general
Col. Deane E. Thomey to brigadier general
PA Army National Guard
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey S. Heasley to major general
Brig. Gen. Laura A. McHugh to major general
Col. Jon D. Farr to brigadier general
Col. Robert C. Jorgensen to brigadier general
Col. Reece J. Lutz to brigadier general
“Combined together, these officers have 282 years of experience in our National Guard,” Mastriano said. “I thank them for their service to the Pennsylvania National Guard, and indeed our nation.”