Two new laws sponsored by Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, supporting active-duty military and disabled veterans go into effect Thursday, June 7.
Fain sponsored the Senate versions of both bills, which were passed during the 2018 legislative session and are part of his latest efforts advocating for those who have served or are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The first change expands the state’s Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to exempt servicemembers from fees or penalties for certain service contracts if they are deployed or ordered to relocate. Long-term contracts for internet service, cell phones, cable, satellite radio contracts and gym memberships can often carry monetary penalties for early termination. The bill also newly applies the new and existing consumer protections to members of the National Guard and reservists.
“The women and men who make such a great sacrifice for our country should never be penalized for being called to protect our country,” Fain said. “Deploying abroad or moving to another military base presents many challenges for servicemembers and their families, one of which is now eased through Washington’s new law.”
The second bill going into effect lowers costs for disabled veterans who require upgrades or custom equipment to meet their unique transportation needs. Adaptive equipment can include wheelchair lifts and ramps, hand controls, voice-activated systems and pedal extensions or other items that allow veterans with a disability to safely ride in or operate a vehicle.
“While the federal government pays for the upgrades, without this bill veterans would be responsible for state sales taxes, which can add up to thousands of dollars for people often on a fixed income,” Fain said. “At a relatively low cost to taxpayers the state will continue to play a role in helping veterans maintain their independence following the great sacrifice they made for our country.”
Both bills received overwhelming bipartisan support during the session. Washington is home to more than 550,000 veterans, with nearly 10,000 residing in the South King County district Fain represents.