New state laws benefit veterans

Nine state laws and benefits aimed at military veterans take effect Friday, including disabled veteran license plates, enrollment priority for military children and tax exemptions for veterans service organizations.

The laws were enacted during the 2011 legislative session and signed by the governor, according to a press release from the state Department of Veteran’s Services.

Disabled veteran license plate

Any honorably-discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces who is rated at least 50 percent service disabled can apply for a state of New Mexico vehicular license plate which identifies the veteran as a disabled veteran.

Mandatory Police Training for interacting with the mentally impaired

Provides for additional education and training of law enforcement officials to facilitate interaction with persons with mental impairment. The goal is to increase crisis intervention training for handling law enforcement calls involving people with mental impairments.

NMDVS Enterprise Fund

Creates an Enterprise Fund for the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services consisting of appropriations, gifts, sale proceeds, fees collected and other public or private funds received by the NMDVS to carry out its programs and services.

Veterans’ Service Organization Property Tax Exemption

Any U.S. Congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organization is exempt from paying property tax on the property of its facility.

Veteran business incubator program feasibility study

The Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee has been requested to work with the Department of Veterans’ Services and the New Mexico Economic Development Department to study the feasibility of enacting legislation to establish a business incubator program to foster the creation of veteran-owned businesses, lower veteran unemployment rates and increase jobs for New Mexicans. The Committee must report its findings, conclusions and recommendations for legislation to the legislature by November.

Hunting fee discount for non-resident disabled veterans undergoing rehabilitation

Hunting licenses for deer, antelope, elk, javelina and turkey may be sold to non-resident disabled U.S. military members or veterans at resident license-fee rates if the applicant is undergoing a rehabilitation program utilizing hunting activities supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs or an authorized nonprofit organization.

Deceased military person’s disposition arrangements

A person designated as the immediate contact on the Department of Defense (DoD) Emergency Data Form of an active-duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces can determine the means of disposition of that deceased Armed Forces member. The designee is authorized to make burial, funeral and disposition arrangements.

Military children school enrollment

Priority enrollment status is automatically assigned to incoming students or the New Mexico schools system whose active-duty, National Guard or Reservist parent is transferred to a New Mexico military facility.

Temporary hunting and fishing license for active-duty military personnel

Any active duty military personnel, National Guard or Reserve member who is a legally domiciled resident of New Mexico can apply for a temporary active duty fishing or small game hunting license. Applicants must show proof of residency and not claim residency elsewhere. Applicants may also apply if they are on active duty outside the state but are currently on leave here in New Mexico for not more than 30 days.