2022 Veteran Omnibus Bill passed and signed into law

With just days left in the 2022 Legislative Session the Veteran Omnibus Bill (aka the SPEED act) emerged from conference committee and was passed  by the Massachusetts House and Senate. The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on August 5, 2022. The bill included ALL of the legislative priorities advocated for by NGAMA, including:

Massachusetts National Guard Family Education Program

  • Establishes a Massachusetts National Guard Family Education Program to allow National Guard members to transfer their unused education benefits under the National Guard Education Assistance Program to dependents.
Military-Spouse Licensure, Portability, Education and Enrollment of Dependents
  • Requires the Division of Occupational Licensure, the Department of Public Health, and Massachusetts Boards of Registration to accept a military spouse’s application for licensure or notify them of what criteria they did not meet within 30 days of applying.
  • Establishes a military spouse certificate to be issued by the Commissioner of Education to military spouse teachers that meet certain requirements.
  • Allows military families to register and enroll in a school district when a service member first receives their relocation order. Waives the proof of residency requirement at the time of registration. Allows military children who are transferring mid-semester to enroll in and attend one of the Commonwealth’s virtual schools.

National Guard employer tax credit

  • Establishes a tax credit for businesses that hire national guard members (similar to veterans tax credits).

The important and wide-reaching bill included other initiatives supported by the larger National Guard community, including:

Open Burn Pit Registry
  • Directs DPH, in consultation with DVS and National Guard, to develop educational materials and an informational pamphlet on the health impacts of open burn pits during overseas deployment and information on the VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to be distributed to healthcare providers, service members, and veterans. And to contact all members of the Armed Forces, National Guard and veterans to register for the VA Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry.
  • And requires the Adjutant General to request that the periodic health assessment for National Guard members determine whether the member is eligible to participate in the VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry and if eligible, the member register for the Registry.
Purple Star Campus Designation
  • Establishes the Purple Star Campus Program, administered by the Department of Education, to designate schools that demonstrate a commitment to students and families of service members.
In-State Tuition Continuity for Military-Connected College Students
  • Ensures that a member of the military stationed in the commonwealth, their spouse, or their children are deemed an in-state resident after their acceptance at one of the state’s higher education institutions.


Civilian Licensure and Certification Information
  • Directs the Commissioner of Veterans’ Services to make information on civilian licensure and certification opportunities available to service members and veterans and provide information on military education and skills to relevant agencies.

Veteran Mentoring Program

  • States that the president of UMASS, with the Chancellors of UMASS Amherst and Lowell and the Presidents of Bridgewater and Salem State, may establish a veteran mentoring pilot program at their institutions to assist veterans adjust to civilian life.

Property Tax exemption

  • Prohibits a city or town from requesting further evidence from a disabled veteran in subsequent tax years after a veteran has already received an exemption by the assessor of that town unless the disability rating determined by the VA is reduced.

Funeral and Burial Benefits

  • Requires funeral directors and their staffs to provide information on burial and funeral benefits for veterans.

Medal of Fidelity

  • Establishes the Massachusetts Medal of Fidelity to be presented to the next of kin of a service member or veteran who died as a result of service related post-traumatic stress disorder or a service-connected disease, condition or injury related to exposure to harmful toxin, herbicides, agents or materials.

Founding Anniversaries of U.S. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard

  • Requires the Governor to set aside the founding date anniversaries of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Massachusetts National Guard.

Deborah Samson Memorial Commission

  • Establishes a commission to determine a location for a memorial of Deborah Samson, Massachusetts resident who disguised herself as a man in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Want to know more about this amazing woman? Click here to read about her brave actions according to the National Womens History Museum, or you can can watch this entertaining, put probably less informative version.

Slot Machines at Veterans’ Organizations Commission

  • Creates a commission to study slot machines at veteran organizations.


Legislative Initiatives

The National Guard Association of Massachusetts (NGAMA) is the only organization solely dedicated to the more than 8,000 members of the Massachusetts Army and Air National Guard, as well as veterans of the Massachusetts National Guard and their families. NGAMA’s mission is to help ensure the Massachusetts National Guard is fully funded, staffed, equipped, and trained to perform its state and federal mission and that members and veterans receive the benefits they have earned.

Always ready to serve the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts National Guard must retain quality people, and replace those who have completed their commitments or retired. Accordingly, NGAMA’s legislative, budget and mission priorities reflect the critical need to attract, train and retain quality women and men in the Guard and recognize organizations and institutions that support the Massachusetts National Guard.

Write to Congress

Every year, NGAMA, together with NGAUS, develops priorities based on grass-roots input and expertise from our members: the Soldiers and Airmen of the Massachusetts National Guard. We advocate on Becon Hill and in Congress to ensure they have the capabilities, equipment, and benefits to successfully execute their Total Force mission.

Take action on issues important to your Soliders and Airmen by emailing your representatives. Use the link below to find your Massachusetts Legislators and write your respresentatives about issues and topics important to the National Guard community.