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State lawmakers help military

Summary of 2019 Legislation impacting veterans, servicemembers and their families

The 2019 State Legislative session passed many bills that will impact servicemembers, their families, National Guard, reservists and veterans. Photo credit:

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HB 1137 - National Guard pay/wildland fires: Modifies pay for National Guard members in active state service. Directs the adjutant general to establish a pay scale for National Guard wildfire response, which takes into account experience and responsibility

ESHB 1138 - Tenancy termination/military: Amends provisions in the Residential Landlord Tenant Act and the Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord Tenant Act pertaining to termination of tenancy by a tenant who is a member of the Armed Forces. The criteria may include the tenant: moving 35 miles or more from the location of the rental premises; being discharged or released prematurely from active-duty; being released from active-duty and the home of record is farther than 35 miles away from the rental premises; being directed by a commanding officer to move into government housing; or receiving temporary duty or change of station orders.

SHB 1197 Gold Star license plates: Requires Gold Star license plates to be issued for certain eligible applicants (widows, widowers, parents) without payment of any vehicle license fees and motor vehicle excise taxes. Allows widows and widowers who are eligible to receive the Gold Star license plates but choose instead to receive a standard license plate or any other qualifying special license plate to be exempt from payment of motor vehicle excise taxes.

SHB 1210 - School enrollment/military: Provides that children of military families will comply with school district residency requirements if their parent is transferred or pending transfer to a military installation in the state while on active military duty. Requires school districts to conditionally accept applications for enrollment and course registration by electronic means in such circumstances.

2SHB 1448 - Veterans Service Officer Program: Creates the Veterans Service Officer Program to provide funding for counties to establish veterans service officers. The substitute bill allows the WDVA to provide funding to eligible counties to maintain, in addition to establish, a VSO. The substitute bill allows the WDVA to provide funding for no more than one full?time equivalent VSO per eligible county.  Budget Proviso for 2SHB 1448: Veterans Service Officer Program One?time funding is provided pursuant to Second Substitute House Bill 1448 (veterans service officers), which creates the Veterans Service Officer Program. The funding is for the establishment of pilot programs in two counties (General Fund?State)

HB 1688 - Resident student/veterans: Requires a student who is entitled to federal Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services benefits to receive in?state tuition at public higher education institutions.

HB 1934 - Pistol license/Armed Forces: Requires law enforcement to allow a member of the Armed Forces to renew their concealed pistol license by mail if the person is assigned to out?of?state military service.

HB 2058 - Purple Heart license plates: Requires Purple Heart license plates to be issued to all eligible applicants without payment of any vehicle license fees, license plate fees, and motor vehicle excise taxes for one motor vehicle.

ESSB 5160 - Seniors, disabled veterans/property tax exemption: Modifies the qualifying income thresholds for the property tax exemption and deferral programs for low?income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and veterans beginning with taxes levied for collection in 2020. Adjusts the disability rating qualification for the disabled veterans property tax exemption program to 80 percent.

SSB 5748 - Military installation infrastructure: Creates the defense community infrastructure account and specifies how grants to local governments from the account are to reduce development conflicts with military installations.

The Washington Military Department also received $1 million to fund National Guard Scholarships and a number of Capital Budget requests, including $6.6 million to purchase land to replace the Seattle Armory.

Visit for more information on veteran-related legislation.

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Fairbanks, Alaska

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