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Bills for veterans

Local legislature leads the fight

Rep. Christine Kilduff (D-University Place) places a high priority on veterans’ issues. Courtesy photo

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Christine Kilduff (D-University Place) works for veterans and their families.

"One of my goals is to (do) right by veterans and military families who have sacrificed and served our country," the state representative from the 28th Legislative District wrote in an email.

To this end, Kilduff has sponsored three bills to benefit this group of constituents.

House Bill 2496 establishes a statewide clearinghouse to facilitate free legal help for veterans, active-duty members and their families.

Working with State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Kilduff crafted legislation to make sure military families don't have to face legal disputes alone while a loved one is deployed.

"When a servicemember is deployed overseas, (he or she) can't just leave work to meet with a lawyer over a landlord dispute or fender bender," the legislator said. "Connecting them and veterans who have sacrificed with free legal services is one way of showing them that we're going to stand with them and their families."

A second bill, House Bill 2534, proposes a pilot program that would help connect veterans living in rural areas with services and benefits.

Specifically, the program integrates support from the Department of Veterans' Affairs and other agencies to help veterans living in remote areas to receive healthcare; employment; educational, vocational, and mental healthcare; transportation; and substance abuse services.

About 20 percent of Washington state's veterans live in small towns or farm country and tend to be older and have higher rates of disabilities. Travel to major medical facilities can be problematic.

"I sponsored legislation that will reach out to veterans to make sure they receive the benefits and service they deserve," explained Kilduff. "We will learn from this program and then take it statewide; we need to make it as easy as possible to give these veterans access to care and benefits."

For her efforts on this bill, Fuse Washington, the state's largest progressive advocacy organization, recently recognized Kilduff as its Legislator of the Week.

"Rep. Christine Kilduff is a leading advocate for veterans and military families," wrote Erin Haick, political director of Fuse. "Kilduff's work will ensure that the men and women who have dedicated their lives to defending our country receive the support they need."

This bill received unanimous support from the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

A third bill, House Bill 2718, would provide consumer protections to active-duty servicemembers by precluding companies from imposing fees and penalties when servicemembers need to end certain service contracts.

"Our servicemembers protect us; the least we can do is protect them so they are not nickeled and dimed with fees and penalties because they are called to duty," wrote Kilduff.

The legislative fate of the three bills remains to be seen.

"I hope the Senate will agree with the goals behind these bills and move them forward," concluded Kilduff.

For more information about these bills, Kilduff can be contacted at or 360.786.7958.

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