PA Senate Committee approves recognition of Vietnam Vets Day, support for local HazMat providers

13 June 2024- On Tuesday, the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee approved three measures important to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and Pennsylvania veterans, and another in support of local HazMat providers, said Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33), chairman of the committee.

Senate Bill 1160, sponsored by Mastriano, would designate March 29 each year as “Vietnam War Veterans Day.”

In 2012, President Barack Obama signed a presidential proclamation designating March 29 as the annual observance of Vietnam War Veterans Day. And in 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, which designates March 29 each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day and amended the United States Flag Code to include National Vietnam War Veterans Day as a day on which the flag should be flown. 

“I am pleased to follow suit and sponsor this legislation to permanently place Vietnam War Veterans Day into state law,” Mastriano said. “As we continue to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, this measure is another way to thank our Vietnam veterans and say, ‘Welcome home.’”

Senate Bill 1192, sponsored by Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48), would permit the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to lease land at Fort Indiantown Gap and use the proceeds to fund programs to enhance the quality of life for service members, veterans and their families through the Service Member Veterans and Their Families Fund.

“This legislation would be a win-win for the Pennsylvania National Guard and their families – as well as businesses and the local community,” Mastriano said. “Providing additional support to our National Guard members and their families through creative means such as this should be applauded.”

Senate Bill 1193, sponsored by Mastriano, would permit local tax credits to include volunteer HazMat providers. As amended in Committee, the bill would also increase the amounts that fire companies and emergency medical services (EMS) providers can borrow through the state fire commissioner’s low-interest loan program.

Counties, school districts and municipalities may establish property or income tax credits for volunteer firefighters and EMS providers. This legislation would permit the inclusion of volunteer HazMat providers. The committee also included an amendment supported by Mastriano that would increase the thresholds for fire and EMS loans.

“This measure recognizes the importance of HazMat providers to our communities,” Mastriano said. “I encourage their inclusion in local tax credits. I support the higher thresholds for our fire companies and EMS organizations through the low-interest loan program, operated through the State Fire Commissioner’s Office.”

The three measures now go to the full Senate for consideration.