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Veterans Would Benefit From 3 Bills

ALBURQUERQUE, N.M —  Three bills that would affect New Mexico veterans has been introduced in the Legislature.

Albuquerque Rep. Thomas Anderson, R-Albuquerque, has introduced HB 15, which would phase in an annual income tax credit of up to $1,000 for military retirees. The bill’s stated purpose is to encourage military retirees to move to New Mexico and add their expertise to the state’s workforce.

Anderson also has introduced HB 16, which would appropriate $50,000 from the state’s general fund for the Department of Military Affairs to educate the public on the mission of the USS New Mexico, a nuclear-powered submarine commissioned in March 2010.

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The bill also would allow the department to sponsor a visit of the sub’s crew to the state and to recognize its top sailors each quarter and each year.

Rep. Dianne Hamilton, R-Silver City, has introduced HB 36, which would appropriate $250,000 from the general fund to the Veterans’ Services Department for a pilot program to test the efficacy of “virtual reality therapy” treatment for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. The funding would provide therapist training and set up a curriculum for that training at Western New Mexico University, located in Hamilton’s hometown. The funding covers fiscal years 2013 through 2017.

No fiscal impact reports for those bills were available Wednesday.

Hamilton also introduced House Joint Memorial 3, which would ask the state’s congressional delegation to utilize the New Mexico State Approving Agency and the National Association of State-Approving Agencies when Congress considers legislation that could affect education benefits for New Mexico veterans.

The state Approving Agency, a division of the Veterans’ Services Department, approves educational and training programs at colleges, universities and non-degree institutions, as well as apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs.

Rep. Rodolpho Martinez, D-Bayard, has introduced House Joint Memorial 14, which asks Gov. Susana Martinez to declare March 29, 2013, as Vietnam Veterans Day in New Mexico.

A legislative memorial is a formal expression of legislative desire, usually addressed to another governmental body, but does not have the force of law.

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