Bill Increases Military Benefits, Expands National Guard Museum

TOPEKA, Kan. - Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.) ceremonially signed legislation on Thursday, July 10, that improves benefits to military members and funds the expansion of the Kansas National Guard Museum in Topeka to include a 35th Infantry Division Museum and education center.

The bill was originally signed into law May 14, 2008 and became effective July 1.

"We'll continue looking for ways to support members of the Kansas National Guard as well as take steps to honor them whenever possible," Sebelius said. "I'm so pleased we're increasing benefits and expanding the museum."

Military Benefits Increasing
The bill, HB 2923, increases the one-time activation payment made to state employees in Kansas currently on or called to full-time military duty as a member of the Guard or Reserves to $1,500 and raises the wage differential payment to $1,000 gross payment per pay period.

It also allows full-time military service members who have been or will be deployed outside the United States to defer all or part of their real property taxed on their principal place of residence for up to two years while serving on active duty.

Other provisions of the bill provide for no-cost hunting and fishing licenses to disabled veterans, funding for Kansas National Guard scholarships and funding for the Kansas Veterans Home, Kansas Soldiers Home and Veterans Cemetery System.

Museum Expansion Funding
The bill amends existing law to fund the expansion of the Kansas National Guard Museum through lottery ticket sales. It allows the sale of Veterans Benefit Game lottery tickets year-round and directs 30 percent of the net profits in Fiscal Year 2009 and 2010, an estimated $450,000 annually, to be used for the museum expansion which includes a 35th Infantry Division Museum and education center.

Major Gen. Jack Strukel (Ret.) said of the museum expansion, "As we honor those who have served previously, we provide a motivation and a reason for the current generation and the next generation to remember every generation has a role and a job to do."

The text of the bill is available at http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2008/2923.pdf.
A committee report brief on the bill is available at http://www.kslegislature.org/supplemental/2008/CCRB2923.pdf.


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