Henrico County VA

McDonnell signs ‘veteran-friendly’ laws

Gov. Bob McDonnell hopes that a package of 25 bills he has signed into law will make Virginia “America’s most veteran-friendly state.”

“I am pleased that the General Assembly passed these important pieces of legislation with broad bipartisan support,” McDonnell, a U.S. Army veteran, said during a signing ceremony last week at Fort Lee.

“The courageous Virginians who volunteer to keep us free and secure should be recognized for the sacrifices they, and their families, make on a daily basis in that effort.”

The legislation McDonnell signed included:

• Senate Bill 824 by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, and House Bill 1861 by Delegate Richard Anderson, R-Woodbridge. This legislation waives the one-year residency requirement veterans and military spouses otherwise would need to qualify for in-state tuition rates.

• SB 959 by Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Richmond, and HB 1719 by Delegate James “Jimmie” Massie III, R-Richmond. Under this legislation, veterans and their spouses can get one copy of a vital record free if it’s being used to qualify for veterans’ benefits.

• SB 892 by Sen. William Wampler Jr., R-Bristol, and HB 1761 by Delegate M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights. These bills allow the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management to offer TRICARE supplemental health coverage to state employees who are veterans of the armed forces.

• HB 1557 by Cox and SB 1399 by Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton. This legislation maintains a ratio of one staff person at the Department of Veterans Services for every 26,212 veterans residing in the commonwealth.

• HB 2415 by Delegate Ward L. Armstrong, D-Martinsville. It establishes a discounted hunting license for veterans who have a service-connected disability.

• HB 1535 by Delegate Donald Merricks, R-Chatham. It allows the Board of Medicine and Board of Nursing to consider military training and experience for certain licensures.

• HB 2279 by Delegate Mark Keam, D-Vienna. It requires the state health commissioner to consider relevant military experience, education and training completed by an applicant for certification as emergency medical services personnel.
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HandsOn Day set for Oct. 17

HandsOn Day 2015, which will feature 1200 volunteers serving more than 65 nonprofits in Greater Richmond, will take place Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the projects in Henrico or surrounding communities that need volunteers are: installing GardenFest lights Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, distribution center assistance at Feedmore, pumpkin carving with residents at SupportOne, work and play at Housing Families First, paint for independence at Heart Havens, spruce up the shelter and clean sweep at Harbor House at Safe Harbor, pinwheel project at REAP and Kidney Walk prep at National Kidney Foundation Serving VA. > Read more.

Online tool helps identify best native plants for pollinators

Virginians who want to plant beneficial plants for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds have a new resource at their fingertips. The online Virginia Native Plant Finder now lets users search for native plant species that benefit pollinators. The tool, which is managed by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is free and easy to use; searches can be completed on desktops, tablets or smartphones.

Native plants are those that grow where they evolved; they have traits that enable them to adapt to local conditions. The Virginia Native Plant Finder lets users create their own custom native plant lists by selecting from dropdown menus. > Read more.

The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band to perform Oct. 15

Henrico County Recreation and Parks is hosting a concert by The Volunteers of the United States Army Field Band on Thursday, Oct. 15 at Henrico Theatre, 305 East Nine Mile Road in Highland Springs. This free concert will be held at 7 p.m. and will feature Soldier-Musicians from the U.S. Army Field Band.

Since its inception in 1981, The Volunteers has been telling the Army story through rock, pop, country, and patriotic music. Its members have performed for millions of listeners in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Kuwait, and Iraq. This group tours more than 100 days each year, bringing a powerful message of patriotism and support to communities large and small. > Read more.


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