(INDIANAPOLIS) - State Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) gathered with fellow lawmakers Tuesday at a ceremonial bill signing held by Gov. Mitch Daniels to celebrate three of Indiana's newest support initiatives for military families: House Enrolled Act 1059, House Enrolled Act 1065 and House Enrolled Act 1116.
• HEA 1059 extends the eligibility period for full-time military and National Guard members and their dependents to receive assistance from the state's Military Family Relief Fund from one year to three years after their active duty service ends. The Indiana Division of Veteran Affairs reports over $700,000 in grants have been awarded to almost 300 families since the fund was activated in 2007.
• HEA 1065 - sponsored by Steele - allows a court, upon petition of a parent who has received military deployment orders, to delegate all or part of his or her parenting time during deployment to someone who has a close relationship with the child. The new law also allows parents to participate in custody hearings electronically if military service prevents them from being there in person.
• HEA 1116 waives professional license training requirements for military members who have learned and practiced the necessary skills during their service time. The law additionally requires state colleges and universities to award credit to members of the military who complete courses that are a part of military training, meet national standards and fit within the school's role, scope and mission.
"We passed many important initiatives during this legislative session, chief among them are those that lend support to our military men and women - both while they are serving and when they return home," Steele said. "Providing financial assistance to struggling military families and helping veterans translate skills learned in the military into jobs back home will hopefully help ease the transition process after a deployment. Additionally, I sponsored HEA 1065 to ensure our military men and women who have gone through a divorce have someone they love who can spend time with their son or daughter when they are away serving our country."
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