Veterans Day is Tuesday, November 11, and it’s a good time to thank and remember all of those who have served. First recognized in 1919, the date commemorates the end of fighting in World War I when an armistice took effect between the Allied nations and Germany at 11 am on November 11, 1918.

This year, the Iowa Legislature continued to support Iowa Veterans and military families. The Legislature passed many of the Governor’s recommendations of the Home Base Iowa Initiative. This includes exempting military retirement pay from state individual income taxes, which will be available for the current 2014 tax year, meaning the credit would be available to taxpayers on tax returns filed in April 2015. In addition, the initial fee for all military license plates is eliminated; however, the annual fee will remain intact at the cost of $5.00.

Private sector employers are allowed to grant a preference in hiring and promotion for veterans and some spouses; and the various professional and occupational licensure boards are required to match up military training to current licensure requirements. Community colleges and the three state Regents universities are also required to report annually regarding the award of educational credits to veterans for military education, training, and experience for the prior five academic years. The initial report is due to the Legislature and Governor’s Office by December 15, 2015.

The Legislature also approved several other bills related to veterans that were not part of the Home Base Iowa Initiative, including: exempting state individual income taxes from military survivor benefits; expanding eligibility and financing options for the Military Homeownership Assistance program; and improved reporting requirements for sexual assaults within the Iowa National Guard.

The State of Iowa is committed and will continue to support all service members, veterans, and their families.