Agent Orange Extender
Legislation was signed into law to extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits relating
to exposure to phenoxy herbicide (Agent Orange) by armed forces personnel who served
in Indo-China. (Chapter 39 of the Laws of 2006/Ortiz)
New York State Assemblymembers John J. McEneny, Felix W. Ortiz and Darrel J. Aubertine
take an in-depth tour aboard the U.S.S. Slater DE 766 moored on the Hudson River in Albany.
Leading the tour was Tim Rizzuto, the ship’s superintendent.
Many of the soldiers returning from active combat zones are experiencing adverse health
effects that may be caused by exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents,
such as depleted uranium. Legislation (A.9116-B, Dinowitz) passed both houses of the
Legislature to require the Adjutant General and the State Director of the Division of
Veterans’ Affairs to assist any member of the National Guard or veteran who served in
the Persian Gulf in efforts to obtain federal treatment services for such health problems.
The legislation also requires the Adjutant General to report to the Senate and Assembly
Veterans’ Affairs Committees on the scope and adequacy of training received by members
of the New York National Guard regarding the detection and recognition of exposure to toxic
materials during military service and the cost of adding predeployment training to address
potential exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic substances. The bill also adds Gulf
War Syndromes, toxic materials, and harmful physical agents such as depleted uranium to
the list of health issues the Department of Health must address in their veterans health care
information program and creates a task force on health problems due to military service to
study the health effects of exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents.
This proposal was the subject of a roundtable discussion held in New York City earlier this
year. The panelists included the United States Army’s expert on depleted uranium, the
person in charge of deployment health at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and a physicist
from the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, representing the Center For
Disease Control and Prevention.
Congressional Medal of Honor Monument
The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor that an individual can earn
while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. The history of the award and its
recipients is representative of the sacrifices made by Americans to defend, protect, and preserve
the freedoms we cherish. There have been over 650 recipients of this medal that lived in New York
State. The Legislature passed a bill to create a monument dedicated to the memory of all New
York residents who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. This monument will be erected
in the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza or Capitol Park in the City of Albany.
The Legislature passed an amendment to remove from the State constitution the requirement that
states a veteran who was disabled in the performance of duty in any war must receive disability
payments from the United States Veterans Administration in order to qualify for additional civil service
points and to allow for the veteran to qualify for additional civil service points. The amendment would
allow the veteran to qualify for additional civil service points if he or she has been certified as disabled.
The amendment must be passed a second time during a legislative session convening after the election
of members of the Legislature in 2006 in order to be sent to the voters for approval. (A.9957, Ortiz)
Vietnam War Dates
This measure will change the date when the Vietnam war is deemed to have commenced from
December 22, 1961, to February 28, 1961, in various sections of state law. In 1996, the federal
government changed the date to February 28, 1961. The date grants recognition of wartime service
to veterans who served in Vietnam when American advisers began accompanying South Vietnamese
troops. These benefits are one way of saying thanks to those who risked their lives to answer the call
of duty. (Chapter 179 of the Laws of 2006/Aubertine)
Assemblymembers Jeffrey Dinowitz and Felix W. Ortiz, Chair of the New York State Assembly
Veterans’ Affairs Committee, lead a roundtable discussion on the effects of depleted uranium
on returning veterans who served in the Persian Gulf area.
Vietnam Veterans Tuition Awards Program...
...and Persian Gulf Veterans Tuition Awards Program Extension
This measure will extend for two years the time for Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan veterans to
apply to NYSHESC for certain tuition awards for veterans enrolled in approved undergraduate or graduate
programs at degree granting institutions and approved vocational training programs.
(Chapter 208 of the Laws of 2006)
Transfer of the Real Property Tax Exemption...
...in Cases of Veterans Moving Within the Same Municipality
This bill would authorize municipalities to adopt a local law or ordinance allowing the assessor to transfer
and prorate a real property tax exemption granted a veteran when such veteran sells the property receiving
the exemption and purchases property within the same municipality. This bill passed both house of the
Legislature and is awaiting action by the Governor. (A.974, McEneny)