Today’s news:

Meng legislation would pay $210K to fallen troops’ kin

At a news conference in his downtown Flushing office last Thursday, Meng joined co-sponsor state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and area military veterans to announce the bill entitled the New York State Armed Service Memorial Award for Liberty and Honor, which would provide a maximum amount of $210,000 per family paid out over a period of five years.Family members are currently entitled up to $12,240 from the federal government when an enlisted family member dies while on duty."Every day we should all remember the men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country," Meng said. "These people left their family members and they deserve all our support. The least we can do as a state is to provide these family members with financial support."The bill sets aside a first-year budget of about $850,000 to be retroactively doled out per family, meaning relatives of soldiers who have already been killed in service are still entitled to its benefits.Surviving spouses would receive $50,000; dependent children would receive up to $100,000; dependent parents would receive up to $60,000; and non-dependant parents would receive up to $16,000.Stavisky said a state contribution, in addition to contributions from the federal government, should put a noble face on an unpopular war."I remember when the Vietnam War ended and the service people came home to a very ungrateful nation, and we have forgotten many of our service people, whether it be the Korean War, often called the Forgotten War, or the Vietnam War," said Stavisky. "We don't significantly recognize their contribution ... It's up to us in government to try to remedy some of the inequities."The bill is currently under deliberation in the Senate Veterans Committee, but Meng said he has heard that it is being well received."I've heard nothing but support so far," he said.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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