Legislation that expands a variety of services, including education, for military veterans is awaiting the signature of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, center. (Gillian Jones / The Associated Press)
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BOSTON — Massachusetts lawmakers have passed a bill designed to build on an existing law expanding education opportunities and services for military personnel, veterans and their families.
The bill provides property tax relief and strengthens employment, education and health care support services.
The legislation, known as the Valor Act II, creates a home modification program to help injured veterans stay in their homes. It also authorizes the secretary of Veteransí Services to establish enhanced training and certification for officials working on veteransí benefits and services.
The bill also allows students enrolled in college, who are called to active duty, to either complete their coursework without penalty after returning, or to withdraw and receive a tuition refund.
It also increases penalties for disturbing military funerals and helps guard against charity fraud.
The bill is waiting for Gov. Deval Patrick to sign it into law.