Sen. Seyarto introduces his 2024 veteran bill package

State Senator Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta, represents California's 32nd Senate District. Valley News/Courtesy photo

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta, introduced his veteran bill package for the 2024 legislative year, offering common sense solutions to assist California’s veterans.

Senate Bill 911 will exempt taxes from the first $20,000 of Survivor Benefits Payments received by widowed spouses and children of deceased veterans. Much like a life insurance policy, it is an opt-in benefit available to U.S. veterans to pay into during their military career, guaranteeing up to 50% of the service member’s retirement income to be paid to the beneficiary after the veteran dies. California is one of only two states in the country that fully taxes these benefits. This bill will protect lower income families who have lost their primary income source and relieve the children and spouses of our great men and women in uniform from an undue tax burden.

“These families and survivors have paid the highest price for our state and nation. Surely one of the simplest ways we can express our gratitude is not to tax the very compensation we give them for that loss,” Seyarto said. “It is long overdue that California joins the rest of the nation in providing them financial relief.”

Senate Bill 916 will allow extended education courses that can be applied toward an undergraduate degree to be included in the California Veteran Fee Waiver. A specific benefit for the spouses and children of military veterans, the CalVet Fee Waiver allows those accepted to attend any California State University or University of California for free. With extended education programs emerging in both CSU and UC institutions, including these courses in this waiver will make it easier for working adults to reach their goals.

“We need to keep up with the changing landscape in education and the benefits military families receive to advance their quality of life,” Seyarto said. “This is an easy way to show that continued support.”

Senate Bill 920 will establish the Purple Star School Program, currently administered by the California Department of Education. Established in 2021, the Purple Star School Program was created to help military families identify schools that specialize in providing support for the unique challenges military children face. Ninety-one California schools have identified as such, ranking the state with 38 others who have recognized the need to grow support for military families. This bill will ensure the continuation of the program and access to support for the families of our nation’s veterans.

“The Purple Star School Program is a successful way for military families to be able to identify where they will meet the understanding and support they deserve for their unique needs,” Seyarto said. “Taking this program from an option to a guarantee is a no-brainer and pledges a benefit we are happy to offer to those who have served our country.”

Additionally, Senate Bill 73, which was introduced last year and aims to allow private businesses to establish voluntary hiring preferences for veteran employees, is currently awaiting action in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Kelly Seyarto serves California’s 32nd District, home to one of California’s largest veteran populations.

Submitted Content