Governor DeSantis Signs Legislation to Support Florida Veterans and Their Families
The Floridant/10274412

~ In a commitment to support Florida's veterans and their families, Governor Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law today. House Bill 725 and House Bill 1329 aim to provide services for veterans transitioning to civilian life, ensure spouses can receive long-term care together, and expand benefits available for veterans.

During the signing ceremony in Land O' Lakes, Governor DeSantis stated, "Florida is committed to remaining the most military- and veteran-friendly state in the nation. We are proud to support those who have bravely served our country, and today's legislation will help ensure that veterans and their families have the resources they need to successfully transition into civilian life with their loved ones by their side."

House Bill 725 expands eligibility for admissions to a veterans' long-term care facility to include spouses or surviving spouses of qualifying veterans. The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs currently operates nine state Veterans' Nursing Homes with a total of 1,102 skilled nursing and assisted living beds. The department is also in the process of adding a tenth home, which will make Florida the state with the most state-operated facilities in the nation. These homes provide valuable services such as skilled nursing and hospice care, adult day health care, rehabilitation services, wellness centers, and veteran service offices.

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House Bill 1329 focuses on programs and benefits for veterans within the state of Florida. This bill designates that Florida is for Veterans, Inc., a non-profit created within the FDVA (Florida Department of Veterans Affairs), as the initial point of contact for military transition assistance for veterans and their spouses reaching the end of their service career. It also increases Veterans Florida's board of directors from nine to eleven members, with new appointees allocated to both the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Additionally, House Bill 1329 revises the Veterans Employment and Training Services Program to match veterans and spouses with businesses within their preferred market and industry, encourage entrepreneurship and growth of veteran-owned small businesses, prioritize grant funds for training and certification, allow businesses participating in the program to receive grants from other state-run programs, and authorize Veterans Florida to assist state agencies in recruiting veteran talent into their workforce.

The bill also creates a fee exemption on hunting and fishing licenses for honorably discharged veterans with a qualifying service-connected disability. It requires public school instruction on the history and importance of Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Furthermore, it creates and funds the Major John Leroy Haynes Florida Veterans' History Program to record the stories of Florida's veterans and preserve them for future generations.

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Retired Marine Corps Major General James S. Hartsell, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs, expressed his support for the bills during the signing ceremony. "Today's bill signing is an important milestone as we proudly serve Florida's veterans with purpose and passion," he said. "Admitting eligible spouses and surviving spouses into our State Veterans' Homes is another great accomplishment to keep Florida the most veteran-friendly and sought-after state in the nation."

For more information on benefits and services available to veterans in Florida, individuals can visit or contact a State Veterans' Service Officer at (727) 319-7440 or via email at For immediate assistance, individuals can call the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 988 (then press 1) or the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (1-844-693-5838) or dial 211 for counseling services available 24/7.

Filed Under: Government, State

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