ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law Monday that includes a number of ways to help veterans and their families.
The new law is the culmination of a veterans' summit Cuomo held near the Capitol in March and will aid veterans when they move as a result of their service.
The law allows for in-state public college tuition for veterans receiving benefits under the GI bill and offers military families greater flexibility with professional licenses received in other states. Another piece of the law will bolster the supplemental burial assistance available for families when a service member dies in combat or as a result of injuries.
"Honoring our veterans, service members and military families for their service and sacrifice is the of our highest responsibilities as New Yorkers – and today our state is taking a tremendous step forward in how we support both these brave men and women and their loved ones," Cuomo said in a news release.
As part of a national initiative, New York will make it easier for military families to relocate. The law will allow for adjustments in state testing to ensure a child graduates on time, authorize students to graduate with diplomas from their previous states and prevent families from being charged local tuition if a parent lives outside of the district.
Cuomo's office said the law is important because most military children will on average change school districts six to nine times during their public-school career.
New York has nearly 12,000 military children attending public schools near Fort Drum in Watertown, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the Hudson Valley and Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.
The bill lets families of service members from New York wounded in combat but died from injuries outside the battleground to qualify for a supplemental burial allowance. Under the previous law, only deaths that occurred in a combat zone qualified.
Most components of the law take effect immediately, though some will take effect in 180 days.