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Governor Ducey Signs Legislation To Honor Veterans, Ease Burdens

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today took action to continue honoring veterans, signing two bills to lower barriers for the women and men who have served our nation. 

The two bipartisan bills decrease the financial burden of licensing fees for veterans, building upon multiple veteran-focused bills signed into law this session. This includes a $10 million investment to waive higher education tuition for their spouses, a commitment made during his January State of the State address.

“Our veterans give us so much and Arizona is dedicated to finding more ways to honor them,” said Governor Ducey. “This session, we delivered. We followed up on our State of the State promise to launch a program to waive in-state higher education tuition for the dedicated husbands and wives of veterans who have served and sacrificed as well. Arizona will continue to lower barriers and give back to this selfless and courageous community.”

H.B. 2741, sponsored by Rep. Joanne Osborne, waives state business licensing fees for military spouses and honorably discharged veterans, helping those who have served their country start their own business.

The move adds to the current rule that agencies must waive any initial business licensing fee for an applicant whose income does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

“I was honored to sponsor H.B. 2741, which will have huge impacts for military families and veterans who have recently been discharged from the military,” said Rep. Osborne. “In Arizona, career opportunities are widely available, and we should ensure military spouses are able to continue their careers in Arizona by waiving their licensing fees. I appreciate my fellow legislators who passed this legislation and Governor Ducey for signing it into law.”

“Through the Arizona Roadmap to Veteran Employment, we’ve seen how consistent employment can stabilize the military family,” Retired Air Force Col. Wanda Wright, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Director said. “This fee waiver presents an important next step in knocking down barriers and creating a path to employment for service members, their spouses and veterans who have or are transitioning from military to civilian life.”

H.B. 2701, sponsored by Rep. Leo Biasiucci, reduces fees for hunting and fishing licenses issued by the Arizona Game and Fish Department for veterans. Under the new law, veterans with a service connected disability will receive a 25 percent reduction on their hunting and fishing licenses and Purple Heart recipients will have a 50 percent reduction. 

“It’s important that we continue to support those who have done so much to protect our nation: military veterans,” said Rep. Biasiucci. “H.B. 2701 does that by reducing the cost of hunting and fishing licenses for veterans in Arizona. I’m pleased to see this legislation be signed into law by the Governor, and I thank everyone who showed their support.”

“The Arizona Game and Fish Department and Commission have a long history of honoring our veterans, this is another way we continue to thank them for their service,” said Ty Gray, Director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Thanks to Governor Ducey and the Arizona Legislature for the opportunity to offer this to the brave men and women who have served our country and value the role our veterans play in wildlife conservation.”

Veteran-focused bills the governor signed this session include:
S.B. 1115 in-state student status; veterans (Borrelli)
S.B. 1212 veterans’ service department; commission; continuation (Leach)
S.B. 1406 excused military absences; higher education (Gowan)
H.B. 2062 military; purple heart; VLT exemptions (Blackman)
H.B. 2223 emergency; military affairs; national guard (Blackman)
H.B. 2320 veterans’ organization; leased property; classification (Kavanagh)

BACKGROUND
Throughout his administration, Governor Ducey has worked to expand opportunities in Arizona for those who answered the call to serve our nation.

The Arizona Coalition for Military Families helps veterans build meaningful careers outside of service. 

The Arizona Roadmap to Veteran Employment—developed in partnership by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, and public- and private-sector partners—is a statewide plan that engages organizations to connect service members, veterans and their families to employment opportunities and other essential resources.

Under the Be Connected: Career Navigation section of the roadmap, professional career navigators assist military members, veterans, spouses and family members through resume coaching, interview preparation and career counseling. The Coalition also helps train employers in military and veteran culture, and in understanding the transition of a veteran to a civilian workplace. The Career Navigation team makes matches between career seekers and employers. 

The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services—in partnership with [email protected] and the Arizona Housing Coalition—offers the Veteran Toolkit, which provides qualifying veterans with funds for expenses associated with beginning employment, including work clothes, tools, protective equipment, transportation and essential electronic devices.

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