Governor Now Supports Bill To Assist Families of Fallen Soldiers

After A.2991 was voted down in the Higher Education Committee by the Assembly Majority, Gov. Cuomo said in a statement that he would support the bill and sign it into law this session. Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C,Ref-Meco), a co-sponsor of the legislation to provide tuition assistance to family members who have lost loved ones in combat, is glad to see support from the executive to do the right thing.

The bill would provide free tuition to any SUNY or CUNY school through a “MERIT” scholarship for surviving family members of New York state military personnel who have died while performing official military duties.

When the bill was brought up for consideration in the Higher Education Committee on April 9, my Majority colleagues opposed further advances to the bill claiming the proposal was an “entitlement” and that “hundreds of thousands of dollars” was too costly. Compared to the costs of financing the $27 million DREAM Act for undocumented immigrants, this legislation would cost a mere fraction of that.

When it was brought to Gov. Cuomo’s attention on Wednesday, he said in a statement he would support the legislation and sign it into law if it passed the Legislature. Now, the only thing stalling the process is a vote in the Higher Education Committee to advance the bill to the floor for consideration by the full Assembly.

“I am really not surprised to see the governor come out and support this bill, it only makes sense for our Gold Star families,” said Smullen. “All eyes are now on the Higher Education Committee and those politicians who orchestrated the process of shutting the bill down in committee. Now that the governor has finally come to his senses, hopefully they will too, and not be on the wrong side of history.”