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Governor Parnell Signs Veterans Legislation

June 4, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell signed several bills relating to veterans issues. The governor signed the legislation at the VFW Post 9785 in EagleRiver.

HB 334, sponsored by Representative Bill Thomas, ensures that the court system has clear direction for dealing with deploying military members in the midst of a child custody battle. The bill prohibits using deployment as the sole reason for a change in a child custody order.

“This legislation protects parental rights of deployed service members,” Governor Parnell said. “With this legislation, Alaska joins 30 other states that have passed laws addressing some aspect of the difficulties facing parents who must temporarily give up custody of their children, or who must forgo visitation when called to duty. It protects the parental rights of the deployed parent, so custody is based on merit, not deployment.”

HB 24, sponsored by Representative Anna Fairclough, expands the bidder preferences available under state procurement code to include Alaska veteran-owned businesses. The bill makes Alaska part of a national effort to encourage veterans to start businesses and to help them succeed.

SB 217, sponsored by the governor, places a question on the general election ballot for an additional $600 million of state-guaranteed bonds to be issued by Alaska Housing Finance Corporation for purchasing mortgage loans made to qualifying veterans.

Alaska is home to 77,000 veterans. The loan program is designed to provide the lowest possible interest rates without imposing income criteria for eligibility.

Audio from the bill-signing ceremony is available at: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell_media/audio/VFW.mp3

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