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DeSantis signs a bill allowing spouses to live in veterans' care facilities

DeSantis signed the legislation at a veterans' care facility in Pasco County.
Gov. Ron DeSantis' Office
DeSantis signed the legislation at a veterans' care facility in Pasco County.

Spouses of military members can now live in veterans’ care facilities.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the legislation (HB725) in a press conference Thursday at Baldomero Lopez State Veterans' Nursing Home in Land O’ Lakes.

“I think the veterans will appreciate it, the spouses will appreciate it,” DeSantis said. “I've said for years that spouses serve and need to be appreciated.”

The law, which will go into effect July 1, will put spouses fifth in the priority order of admission. Veterans with peacetime service are fourth.

Jeny Stentiford’s father, Ken Sizemore, lives at the Land O’ Lakes facility. He met his wife, Josephine, in Bangkok when he served in the Vietnam War over 60 years ago.

“Dad was walking down the street with his GI buddy,” Stentiford said. “He looked through the window of a jewelry store and grabbed his arm and said, ‘Oh, my gosh, that's the prettiest woman I have ever seen.’ That was my mom."

Sizemore is separated from his wife because she does not qualify to live at the veterans’ nursing home. But now they can be reunited under the new law.

The state operates nine veterans' care facilities — eight are skilled nursing facilities and one is an assisted living facility.

The latest figures show that those facilities are operating at over 90% capacity.

DeSantis also signed another bill (HB1329), which expands benefits for former veterans, including providing more training and employment services.

It also gives free hunting and fishing licenses to disabled veterans and requires public schools to teach about Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

This law also goes into effect July 1.

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Aileyahu Shanes
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