Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 43

    February Session, 2018

House Bill No. 5317

House of Representatives, March 26, 2018

The Committee on Veterans' Affairs reported through REP. HENNESSY of the 127th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL VETERANS' REPRESENTATIVES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (b) of section 27-135 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) (1) Any city or town that has not established its own local veterans' advisory committee separate from one or more other cities or towns pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and does not otherwise provide funding for a veterans' service officer shall designate (A) a city or town employee, or (B) a volunteer who is a resident of such city or town, and (i) is a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, or (ii) has practical experience handling veterans' issues, to serve as a [veterans' service contact person] municipal veterans' representative in such city or town. The Commissioner of Veterans Affairs shall annually send to the chief executive officer of any such city or town an electronic notification of such chief executive officer's duty to so designate a city or town employee or volunteer in accordance with this subsection. Such chief executive officer shall, not later than thirty days after receipt of such notification, submit to the Office of Advocacy and Assistance, as described in subsection (b) of section 27-102l, the name and electronic mail address of the city or town employee or volunteer so designated. As used in this subdivision, "chief executive officer" means the officer described in section 7-193.

(2) [Any city or town employee designated as a veterans' service contact person] Each municipal veterans' representative shall carry out the duties described in subsection (a) of this section and shall complete a training course conducted by the Office of Advocacy and Assistance, as described in subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of section 27-102l, or attend a training session conducted by the manager of said office, as described in subparagraph (A) of subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of said section. [Each employee so designated prior to July 1, 2016, shall complete such training course prior to January 1, 2017. Each employee so] Each municipal veterans' representative designated on or after July 1, 2016, shall complete such training course not later than one year after the date of such designation. Upon completion of such training course, a [veterans' service contact person] municipal veterans' representative may thereafter receive electronically any new or updated training information from the Office of Advocacy and Assistance and shall not be required to complete any other such training course.

Sec. 2. Subdivisions (1) to (3), inclusive, of subsection (b) of section 27-102l of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) (1) The commissioner may appoint a manager to administer an Office of Advocacy and Assistance for the aid and benefit of veterans and their spouses, eligible dependents and family members. The office shall have a staff of not less than eight men and women, including six veterans' service officers, and clerical personnel. The manager and veterans' service officers shall be veterans, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, or veterans who were awarded the armed forces expeditionary medal for service by the armed forces.

(2) (A) The manager shall develop a training module on assisting and serving women veterans with regard to state or federal services or benefits and identifying and advising such veterans of community or nonprofit programs focused on assisting and serving such veterans. The manager shall hold and provide instruction for an annual training session, in accordance with such module, to each veterans' [services] service officer and any [veterans' service contact person] municipal veterans' representative, as described in subsection (b) of section 27-135, or representative from an Operation Academic Support for Incoming Service Members center at a public institution of higher education in this state.

(B) At least one of the veterans' service officers shall be a woman having a demonstrated interest in the concerns of women veterans, who shall be responsible for addressing those concerns, and, effective upon the next opening of a veterans' service officer position occurring on or after July 1, 2010, at least two of the veterans' service officers shall be individuals having bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, within existing authorized positions. Each veterans' service officer shall (i) successfully complete a course in veterans' benefits not later than one year after commencement of employment, (ii) attend the training session described in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, and (iii) be assigned to one of the five congressional districts of the state.

(3) The office staff shall, at least twice annually, conduct a training course for any [city or town employee designated a veterans' service contact person pursuant to subsection (b) of section 27-135] municipal veterans' representative. The office staff shall include in such training course a summary of state and federal services and benefits, the duties to be carried out by each [veterans' service contact person] municipal veterans' representative, as described in subsection (a) of section 27-135, and any assistance the office staff may provide to any [veterans' service contact person] municipal veterans' representative related to such duties.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2018

27-135(b)

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

27-102l(b)(1) to (3)

VA

Joint Favorable

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Various Municipalities

Potential Savings

Minimal

Minimal

Explanation

The bill results in a potential savings, expected to be minimal, to municipalities by allowing them to appoint volunteers, rather than employees, as municipal veterans' service contacts.

Any savings would occur if, for example, such municipalities were currently providing paid leave or mileage reimbursement for an employee to attend required training seminars.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5317

AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL VETERANS' REPRESENTATIVES.

SUMMARY

Under current law, any city or town that does not have a local veterans' advisory committee (see BACKGROUND) and does not provide funding for a veterans' service officer must designate a city or town employee to serve as a veterans' service contact person. This bill substitutes the term “municipal veterans' representative” for the term “veterans' service contact person,” allows volunteers to serve in this position, and subjects them to all the existing training requirements. By law, the Office of Advocacy and Assistance conducts required trainings at least two times per year.

Under the bill, a “volunteer” must (1) be a resident of the city or town and (2) be a veteran or have practical experience handling veterans' issues.

The bill also makes conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

BACKGROUND

Veterans' Advisory Committee

By law, any city or town may establish a local veterans' advisory committee to, among other things:

COMMITTEE ACTION

Veterans' Affairs Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

14

Nay

0

(03/14/2018)

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