Memorial Day is right around the corner – a holiday providing extra time with family and friends, outdoor barbeques and the unofficial start of summer in the Hoosier state.

But most importantly, we must use this day to pause and reflect, and remember the veterans that have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom and way of life.

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, honors the men and women who died defending our country. It became an official federal holiday in 1971.

In the Indiana General Assembly, we have always made an effort to prioritize legislation that supports veterans and their families.

In the 2016 legislative session, I supported the passage of the following laws to assist the Hoosier veteran community:

Senate Enrolled Act 295 allows veterans who served on active duty during any armed conflict to be eligible for financial assistance from the Military Family Relief Fund for essential needs like food, housing, utilities, and medical care (The fund was previously only open to post-9/11 veterans).

SEA 295 also adds a check-off box to Indiana tax returns allowing Hoosiers to make a voluntary donation to the Military Family Relief Fund when paying their taxes.
Senate Enrolled Act 304 increases the assessed-value limit from $143,160 to $175,000 for certain veterans to qualify for a property-tax deduction.

House Enrolled Act 1187 makes it a Class A misdemeanor to pretend to be an active member or veteran of the U.S. military in order to obtain any benefit. This crime is labeled “stolen valor.”

Senate Enrolled Act 145 helps deceased veterans without a surviving family member receive a proper military burial. This legislation establishes a process that veterans’ service organizations and funeral directors would follow when handling unclaimed remains of veterans.

House Enrolled Act 1312 allows veteran-owned businesses to register directly with the state of Indiana instead of the federal government. This registration allows veteran-owned businesses to receive greater consideration during the state’s contracting and procurement process.

I hope that Hoosiers can use this solemn day to celebrate our cherished freedom and way of life, but also remember those families affected by the loss of a loved one in service to our country.

We owe our utmost gratitude to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas on these and other issues. My office can be reached at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.

David Long - IN Dist. 16 Senator

David is a former Republican member of the Indiana State Senate representing the 16th district which encompasses Waynedale. He served as the President Pro Tempore of the Indiana State Senate. David writes the "Straight From The Senate" column for the newspaper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer