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Sen. Robinson's bill to boost veterans donations when renewing driver license passed unanimously by Pa. Senate

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - 2/26/2021

Feb. 26—A measure introduced by a South Hills lawmaker to increase the amount of money that can be donated to help military veterans when a resident renews their vehicle documents was approved unanimously by the Pennsylvania Senate.

Sen. Devlin Robinson, R-Bridgeville, was the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 96, which increases the maximum donation to the Veterans' Trust Fund to $5 for a one-year renewel for a driver's license, state ID or vehicle registration; and $10 for a two-year renewal.

The current maximum donation is $3 for one-year renewals and $6 for two years.

"There are close to 1 million veterans living in Pennsylvania," said Robinson, who represents the 37th state Senate District. "It is estimated that 6.5% of them live in poverty.

"Through my experience working with numerous veterans charities such as Semper Fi Odyssey, Veterans Place and Veterans Leadership Program in Western Pennsylvania, I have witnessed firsthand the struggles my fellow veterans face when they return home.

"Today, we have the opportunity to pause in our busy lives and acknowledge Pennsylvania veterans and their willingness to serve," he said. "These servicemen and women have served our nation with honor and distinction, and increasing the voluntary donation amounts to the Veterans' Trust Fund is a simple way to show our gratitude."

Robinson's district covers much of Allegheny County's southern and western suburbs, including Bethel Park, South Park, Mt. Lebanon, Bridge­ville, Moon, Upper St. Clair, Sewickley and Jefferson Hills, as well as Peters Township in Washington County.

All donations made to the Veterans' Trust Fund are used to provide grants to county directors of veterans' affairs, veterans' service organizations and other charitable groups that provide assistance, shelter and living necessities for veterans and their families, Robinson said.

The Veterans' Trust Fund was established in 2012 and is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Ben Stahl, chief executive officer for the Veterans Leadership Program in Pittsburgh, said increasing the donation threshold will allow his organization to provide more services to veterans.

"Each year, there are programs and services — potential life-saving programs and services — that do not get funded due to annual allocations," he said. "We are grateful to Sen. Robinson for his efforts to get this bill passed.

"The bill will ensure a continuum of services are available for Pennsylvania veterans and that the right resources are getting to the right veteran at the right time," Stahl said.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, or via Twitter .


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