ALBANY – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced on March 10 that the State Senate passed his legislation (S.454) which gives New York’s veterans a dignified burial. The bill, which passed unanimously, requires affected counties and the city of New York to work with a veteran service organization to provide for the burial of a veteran whose remains are unclaimed.
“Those who served our country deserve a respectful funeral and burial,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, whose grandfather and namesake was a U.S. Army veteran. “It is important our communities afford those who sacrificed the appropriate respect. I am proud to my Senate colleagues and I support our veterans.”
Senator Gianaris’ legislation ensures unclaimed remains of veterans are afforded a dignified funeral and burial, even when veterans do not have a next-of-kin or the means to provide for their own burial. Local governments would work with a local veterans service organization, which would contract with a funeral home to provide these services.
“As a veteran myself, I fully support this legislation. A dignified burial honors the service and sacrifices of our veterans. I would be heartbroken if any of my fellow soldiers did not get a respectful burial. Thank you, Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris for sponsoring this important legislation and advocating on behalf of New York’s veterans,” said Pedro Nieves, a Queens resident and veteran who served in World War II and the Korean War. Nieves is a member of Sunnyside Community Services’ Center for Active Older Adults, and was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris in 2022.