House Bill No. 5113
               House Bill No. 5113

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-144


AN ACT ESTABLISHING A PERSIAN GULF WAR INFORMATION
RELIEF COMMISSION AND  ALLOWING  THE DEPARTMENT OF
VETERANS' AFFAIRS TO  PARTICIPATE IN PROBATE COURT
PROCEEDINGS.


    Be it enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section 1. (NEW)  As  used in sections 1 to 3,
inclusive, of this  act, the following terms shall
have the following  meanings,  unless  the context
clearly indicates another meaning:
    (1) "Commission" means  the  Persian  Gulf War
Information and Relief  Commission  established in
section 2 of this act;
    (2) "Commissioner" means  the  Commissioner of
Veterans' Affairs;
    (3)  "Department"  means   the  Department  of
Veterans' Affairs;
    (4) "Veteran" means  a  person  who  (A) was a
resident of the state at the time of his induction
into the armed  forces  of the United States or is
currently a resident  of the state, and (B) served
during  the  Persian  Gulf  War  during  Operation
Desert  Shield  or   Operation  Desert  Storm,  as
defined in section 27-103 of the general statutes;
and
    (5) "Gulf War-related  risk  substance"  means
any  environmental  or   chemical   substance   or
condition which was  present  in  the Persian Gulf
region during and  following the Persian Gulf War,
including,  but  not   limited   to,   pesticides,
chemical or biological  warfare  agents, vaccines,
pyridostigmine   bromide,   infectious   diseases,
depleted uranium, oil  well  fires  and  smoke and
petroleum products.
    Sec.  2. (NEW)  (a)  There  is  established  a
Persian Gulf War Information and Relief Commission
which shall obtain  information  relating  to  the
health effects of exposure to any Gulf War-related
risk substance for  veterans of this state who may
have been exposed  to  any  such  substance in the
Persian  Gulf  region   during   their  period  of
military service in the Persian Gulf War.
    (b)  The  commission  shall  consist  of  five
members, who shall serve for a term of five years,
one of whom shall be the Commissioner of Veterans'
Affairs, or his  designee.  The  remaining members
shall be appointed  as  follows: The president pro
tempore of the  Senate  shall  appoint one member,
the minority leader  of  the  Senate shall appoint
one  member,  the   speaker   of   the   House  of
Representatives shall appoint  one  member and the
minority leader of  the  House  of Representatives
shall appoint one  member.  Of  the  five members,
there shall be  at  least two honorably discharged
veterans on the commission, one of whom shall have
served  in the  Persian  Gulf  region  during  the
Persian Gulf War.  One  member  of  the commission
shall be a toxicologist and one member shall be an
epidemiologist, each of  whom shall be licensed by
the state.
    (c) The commission  shall  elect a chairperson
from  among  its   members.   Vacancies   in   the
membership  of the  commission  and  its  officers
shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same
manner as the  original  appointment  or election.
The commission shall  meet  at  least four times a
year at the  call  of the chairperson. The initial
meeting of the  commission  shall be called by the
Commissioner of Veterans'  Affairs  not later than
September 1, 1997.  The  members of the commission
shall receive no compensation for their services.
    Sec.  3.  (NEW)   (a)  The  Persian  Gulf  War
Information and Relief Commission shall advise the
Department of Veterans'  Affairs  on  (1) medical,
administrative and social  assistance  needed  for
veterans who were  or may have been exposed to any
Gulf    War-related    risk     substance,     (2)
recommendations   for   legislation,    and    (3)
information that should  be  provided  to veterans
concerning   epidemiological  or   other   studies
relating to exposure  to any Gulf War-related risk
substance and any  illness suffered by veterans of
military service in  the  Persian  Gulf  War  as a
result of such veterans' exposure to any such Gulf
War-related  risk  substance   which   are   being
conducted by the state or federal government.
    (b)   The  commission   shall   not   disclose
information received pursuant to this act so as to
divulge the identities  of  the persons to whom it
relates except as  is  necessary  to carry out the
purposes of this act.
    (c) The commission  shall submit a preliminary
report to the Governor and the General Assembly on
or  before  April   1,   1998,  on  its  findings,
recommendations  and conclusions.  The  commission
shall  submit  annual  reports  thereafter  on  or
before February fifteenth of each year.
    Sec.  4.  Section   45a-131   of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed   and   the   following  is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    In any proceeding  in  the  Probate  Court  in
which  the  state   is   interested   through  the
Department of Social Services, [or] the Department
of Administrative Services  OR  THE  DEPARTMENT OF
VETERANS'  AFFAIRS,  any   employee  of  any  such
department shall be permitted to participate fully
in the proceeding  in the same manner as any other
interested party before  the  court.  The judge of
the court shall  not  require  that  the  state be
represented by an  attorney-at-law  as a condition
of participation.
    Sec. 5. This  act  shall  take  effect July 1,
1997, except that  section  4  shall  take  effect
October 1, 1997.

Approved June 13, 1997