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Gov. Pence Signs 13 Military-related Bills Into Law

Brandon Smith

Gov. Mike Pence Tuesday signed more than a dozen bills he says will expand benefits and opportunities for Indiana’s military servicemembers and veterans. 

Former Indiana National Guard Adjutant General Martin Umbarger was one of more than two dozen people gathered around the governor as he signed 13 bills into law. 

Umbarger says he’s particularly pleased with one that expands the Military Family Relief Fund.  That program was originally created to help post-9/11 veterans pay food, housing, utility, transportation and medical bills.  

Umbarger says the legislation extends that help to all veterans.

“It isn’t a fund that’s set to sustain you if you’re unemployed or things,” Umbarger says. “It’s just to give you a shot in the arm, if you will, to kind of help you through whatever adversity that have.”

Another bill eliminates the maximum age requirement for veterans seeking to join police or fire departments.  Pence says the legislation would not apply the current limit of 36 years old to those who’ve served in the military.

“If you’ve worn a uniform of the armed forces, we want to see more and more of you wearing a uniform back here at home,” Pence says.

Other bills include a measure to expand Medicaid to active-duty National Guard members and legislation to expand property tax deductions for disabled vets.  

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.