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Gov. Jerry Brown signs 18 bills that benefit California veterans

California Gov. Jerry Brown appears in this undated file photo.

September 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
California veterans and their families will be getting new state benefits, from cheaper college tuition to expedited vocational licenses.

They will come from a legislative package signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. The Democratic governor said in a statement that the 18 bills "respect the honor and dignity of those who serve."

Many of the new benefits involve higher education. One triples the number of years veterans are eligible for priority registration at public colleges. Another extends eligibility for in-state tuition.

One of the bills signed provides treatment for criminal defendants suffering from a mental illness acquired during military service. Another bill signed into law will allow injured veterans to get discounted California fishing licenses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.