Gov. Peter Shumlin promoted programs for veterans and military personnel at his weekly news conference Wednesday.
Flanked by members of veterans' groups, Shumlin highlighted a package of programs -- some new, some old -- that he said would help to support Vermonters who have served in the military.
$1 check-off box
One of the existing programs the governor urged Vermonters to support is the $1 check-off box for the Veterans Fund on their state income tax forms.
The fund has raised $159,000 since it was established in 2010.
The governor says the money provides support for peer counseling, transitional housing for homeless veterans, emergency funding for rent and utilities and it pays for funeral honors for soldiers who die.
The Vermont Department of Labor is planning to expand apprenticeship opportunities and the Work Opportunity Program in order to help veterans re-enter the workforce.
For the first time, veterans who are 60 percent disabled from combat injuries can receive free hunting and fishing licenses. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife currently offers gratis licenses to vets who are 100 percent disabled.
"We think it's a small thing we can do for veterans," said Patrick Berry, commissioner of the department.
In addition, Secretary of State Jim Condos plans to expedite professional licenses for out-of-state military personnel and their spouses. The new program, outlined in two draft bills, H.275 and H.681, would give members of the military credit for training they have received toward professional licensure requirements.
The White House has asked states to expedite licenses for veterans and their spouses who hold professional credentials from another jurisdiction.
"We know vets and their families have to make huge sacrifices for service to their country and this is a way of saying, hey, we appreciate your work, we know your spouses are good at the job they do, and we want to help with the transition as they move to a new state," Shumlin said.