Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Governor Beshear Signs Bills to Extend Eligibility for Military Family Assistance, Expand Access to Veterans License Plates

Press Release Date:  Thursday, April 15, 2010  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Jill Midkiff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Today Governor Steve Beshear ceremonially signed five bills benefitting active duty military personnel, their families and Kentucky veterans.

The Military Family Assistance Trust Fund was established to provide grants to cover deployment-related unexpected hardship expenses not already covered by existing programs. Senate Bill 30 extends eligibility for military personnel and their families for military family assistance trust grants from 90 to 180 days after the end of deployment.  Eligibility is also extended to groups of qualifying military members and their families, when approved by a majority of the military family assistance trust fund board.  Group projects may include purchase of morale equipment for deployed units, such as video conferencing equipment for calls home, or bus transportation to permit home visits while assigned to mobilization stations in the United States such as Camp Shelby, Miss.  Regulations must be drafted to implement the changes.

“The Kentucky Military Families Trust Fund has been a huge support for the families of Kentucky's men and women in uniform,” said Gov. Beshear.  “These families carry a heavy burden while their loved ones are away defending our nation.  Senate Bill 30 goes a step further in addressing the needs of those who have given so much in their time of need. It is a small price to pay considering all that we ask of them.”

Governor Beshear also signed into law House Bill 377, which ensures that combat veterans charged with a crime will have access to counseling and other assistance.  It recognizes the adverse consequences of traumatic brain injury and PTSD by requiring that pre-trial investigation of those charged with crimes to ask whether that individual has served in combat.

Additionally, the Governor signed three bills to increase the availability of military and veterans license plates to Kentucky veterans.

“These military and veterans license plates are a valuable way for people to recognize the veterans among us,” Governor Beshear said.  “We thank them for their service, and encourage others to thank them for their service.”

House Bill 261 creates a Gold Star Father license plate to recognize the fathers of military members who have died in military service.  It complements the existing Gold Star Mother license plate.

Senate Bill 71 creates two new veterans license plates: one recognizing recipients of the Silver Star Medal and one recognizing recipients of the Bronze Star Medal for Valor.

House Bill 199 allows each veteran an unlimited number of military/veteran license plates and provides one plate free for veterans who are 100 percent service-connected disabled. The law previously limited the number of plates to two per veteran.

The bills become law 90 days after the General Assembly adjourns sine die.