Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 162

    February Session, 2018

Substitute Senate Bill No. 287

Senate, April 3, 2018

The Committee on Veterans' Affairs reported through SEN. FLEXER of the 29th Dist. and SEN. MARTIN of the 31st Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT EXPANDING ELIGIBILITY FOR CERTAIN VETERANS BENEFITS.

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

Section 1. Section 27-103 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) As used in the general statutes, except chapter 504, and except as otherwise provided: (1) "Armed forces" means the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force and any reserve component thereof, including the Connecticut National Guard performing duty as provided in Title 32 of the United States Code, as amended from time to time; (2) "veteran" means any person honorably discharged [from,] or released under honorable conditions from [active] service in [,] the armed forces; (3) "service in time of war" means service of ninety or more cumulative days [except, if the period of war lasted less than ninety days, "service in time of war" means service for the entire period of war,] during a period of war unless separated from service earlier because of [a] an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty or a service-connected disability rated by the [Veterans' Administration, during a period of war] United States Department of Veterans Affairs, except that if the period of war lasted less than ninety days, "service in time of war" means service for the entire such period of war unless so separated because of any such injury or disability; and (4) "period of war" has the same meaning as provided in 38 USC 101, as amended from time to time, except that the "Vietnam Era" means the period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on July 1, 1975, in all cases; and "period of war" shall include service while engaged in combat or a combat support role in Lebanon, July 1, 1958, to November 1, 1958, or September 29, 1982, to March 30, 1984; Grenada, October 25, 1983, to December 15, 1983; Operation Earnest Will, involving the escort of Kuwaiti oil tankers flying the United States flag in the Persian Gulf, July 24, 1987, to August 1, 1990; and Panama, December 20, 1989, to January 31, 1990, and shall include service during such periods with the armed forces of any government associated with the United States.

(b) As used in this part, "Veterans Residential Services facility" means the Veterans Residential Services facility in Rocky Hill maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs that provides temporary and other supported residential services for qualifying veterans; "hospital" means any incorporated hospital or tuberculosis sanatorium in the state and any state chronic disease hospital, or hospital for persons with mental illness; "Healthcare Center" means the hospital in Rocky Hill maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs; "veteran" means any veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of this section, who is a resident of this state; [, provided, if he or she was not a resident or resident alien of this state at the time of enlistment or induction into the armed forces, he or she shall have resided continuously in this state for at least two years;] "eligible dependent" means any parent, wife or husband, or child of a veteran who has no adequate means of support; and "eligible family member" means any parent, brother or sister, wife or husband, or child or children under eighteen years of age, of any veteran whose cooperation in the program is integral to the treatment of the veteran.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 4-61bb of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) For the purposes of this section, "licensing authority" means the Department of Consumer Protection, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Labor Department, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Public Health, the Board of Regents for Higher Education, the Office of Higher Education, the Board of Trustees of The University of Connecticut or the Police Officer Standards and Training Council; "service member" means a member of the armed forces or the National Guard or a veteran; "armed forces" has the same meaning as set forth in section 27-103, as amended by this act; and "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces.

Sec. 3. Section 5-224 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

Any veteran who served in time of war, if such veteran is not eligible for disability compensation or pension from the United States through the Veterans' Administration, or the spouse of such veteran who by reason of such veteran's disability is unable to pursue gainful employment, or the unmarried surviving spouse of such veteran, and if such person has attained at least the minimum earned rating on any examination held for an original appointment for the purpose of establishing a candidate list to fill a vacancy in accordance with subsection (d) of section 5-228, shall have five points added to his or her earned rating. Any such veteran, or the spouse of such veteran who by reason of such veteran's disability is unable to pursue gainful employment, or the unmarried surviving spouse of such veteran, if such person is eligible for such disability compensation or pension and if he or she has attained at least the minimum earned rating on any such examination held for an original appointment for the purpose of establishing a candidate list to fill a vacancy in accordance with subsection (d) of section 5-228, shall have ten points added to his or her earned rating. Any person who has been honorably discharged [from] or released under honorable conditions from [active] service in the armed forces of the United States, and who has served in a military action for which such person received or was entitled to receive a campaign badge or expeditionary medal, shall have five points added to his or her earned rating if such person has attained at least the minimum earned rating on any such examination held for an original appointment for the purpose of establishing a candidate list to fill a vacancy in accordance with subsection (d) of section 5-228 and such person is not otherwise eligible to receive additional points pursuant to this section. Names of any such persons shall be placed upon the candidate lists in the order of such augmented ratings. Credits shall be based upon examinations with a possible rating of one hundred points.

Sec. 4. Subsection (b) of section 7-294d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) No person may be employed as a police officer by any law enforcement unit for a period exceeding one year unless such person has been certified under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section or has been granted an extension by the council. No person may serve as a police officer during any period when such person's certification has been cancelled or revoked pursuant to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section. In addition to the requirements of this subsection, the council may establish other qualifications for the employment of police officers and require evidence of fulfillment of these qualifications. The certification of any police officer who is not employed by a law enforcement unit for a period of time in excess of two years, unless such officer is on leave of absence, shall be considered lapsed. Upon reemployment as a police officer, such officer shall apply for recertification in a manner provided by the council. The council shall certify any applicant who presents evidence of satisfactory completion of a program or course of instruction in another state or, if the applicant is a veteran or a member of the armed forces or the National Guard, as part of training during service in the armed forces, that is equivalent in content and quality to that required in this state, provided such applicant passes an examination or evaluation as required by the council. For the purposes of this section, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces and "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 10a-149d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) An institution of higher education shall award college credit for military occupational specialty training to a member of the armed forces or the National Guard or a veteran who enrolls at such institution and has experience in a military occupation recognized by such institution as substituting for or meeting the requirements of a particular course of study. For the purposes of this section, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces and "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 6. Subdivision (10) of subsection (a) of section 12-217pp of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(10) "Veteran employee" means a new employee who, at the time of hiring by the taxpayer, is a member of, was honorably discharged from or was released under honorable conditions from [active] service in the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 7. Subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of section 12-81jj of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(2) Any such veteran submitting a claim for such exemption shall be required to file an application, on a form prepared for such purpose by the assessor, not later than the assessment date with respect to which such exemption is claimed, which application shall include (A) a certified copy of such veteran's military discharge document, as defined in section 1-219, or (B) in the absence of such certified copy, at least two affidavits of disinterested persons showing that the claimant was honorably discharged [from,] or released under honorable conditions from [active] service in [,] the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, as amended by this act, provided the assessor may further require such claimant to be examined by such assessor under oath concerning such facts. Each such application shall include a copy of such veteran's federal income tax return, or in the event such a return is not filed such evidence related to income as may be required by the assessor, for the tax year of such veteran ending immediately prior to the assessment date with respect to which such exemption is claimed. Such town clerk shall record each such affidavit in full and shall list the name of such veteran, and such service shall be performed by such town clerk without remuneration. No assessor, board of assessment appeals or other official shall allow any such claim for exemption unless evidence as specified in this section has been filed in the office of such town clerk. Any such veteran who has filed for such exemption and received approval for the first time shall be required to file for such exemption biennially thereafter, subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section.

Sec. 8. Subdivision (3) of subsection (e) of section 14-36 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(3) Before granting a license to any applicant who has not previously held a Connecticut motor vehicle operator's license, or who has not operated a motor vehicle during the preceding two years, the commissioner shall require the applicant to demonstrate personally to the commissioner, a deputy or a motor vehicle inspector or an agent of the commissioner, in such manner as the commissioner directs, that the applicant is a proper person to operate motor vehicles of the class for which such applicant has applied, has sufficient knowledge of the mechanism of the motor vehicles to ensure their safe operation by him or her and has satisfactory knowledge of the laws concerning motor vehicles and the rules of the road. The knowledge test of an applicant for a class D motor vehicle operator's license may be administered in such form as the commissioner deems appropriate, including audio, electronic or written testing. Such knowledge test shall be administered in English, Spanish or any language spoken at home by at least one per cent of the state's population, according to statistics prepared by the United States Census Bureau, based on the most recent decennial census. Each such knowledge test shall include a question concerning highway work zone safety and the responsibilities of an operator of a motor vehicle under section 14-212d. Each such knowledge test shall include not less than one question concerning distracted driving, the use of mobile telephones and electronic devices by motor vehicle operators or the responsibilities of motor vehicle operators under section 14-296aa. If any such applicant has held a license from a state, territory or possession of the United States where a similar examination is required, the commissioner may waive part or all of the examination. If any such applicant is (A) a veteran who applies not later than two years after the date of discharge from the military and who, prior to such discharge, held a military operator's license for motor vehicles of the same class as that for which such applicant has applied, or (B) a member of the armed forces or the National Guard who currently holds a military operator's license for motor vehicles of the same class as that for which such applicant has applied, the commissioner shall waive all of the examination, except in the case of commercial motor vehicle licenses, the commissioner shall only waive the driving skills test for such applicant who meets the conditions set forth in 49 CFR 383.77. For the purposes of this subsection, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces and "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act. When the commissioner is satisfied as to the ability and competency of any applicant, the commissioner may issue to such applicant a license, either unlimited or containing such limitations as the commissioner deems advisable, and specifying the class of motor vehicles which the licensee is eligible to operate.

Sec. 9. Subsection (f) of section 14-36h of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(f) As used in this section: (1) "Full legal name" means the most complete version of the name that appears on a person's certificate of birth, official passport or other document or documents accepted by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to verify the person's identity, unless the person presents a marriage license or certificate, a certificate of civil union, a divorce decree or an order of a court of competent jurisdiction pertaining to a permanent change of the person's name; and (2) "veteran" means any person honorably discharged [from,] or released under honorable conditions from [active] service in [,] the armed forces, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, as amended by this act, and any former member of the armed forces who is entitled to retirement pay under 10 USC Chapter 1223, as amended from time to time, or, but for age, would be so entitled.

Sec. 10. Subsection (b) of section 19a-179 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) For the purposes of this section, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces and "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 11. Subsection (l) of section 20-206mm of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(l) For the purposes of this section, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces and "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 12. Section 27-100g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

The Department of Veterans Affairs shall establish, within available resources, a Connecticut women veterans' program to (1) conduct outreach to women veterans for the purpose of improving awareness of eligibility for federal and state veterans' benefits and services; (2) conduct assessments of the needs of women veterans with respect to benefits and services; (3) review programs, research projects and other initiatives designed to address or meet the needs of Connecticut's women veterans; (4) submit recommendations for improving benefits and services available to women veterans to the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs and, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to military and veterans' affairs on January 15, 2016, and annually thereafter; and (5) incorporate women veterans' issues in strategic planning concerning benefits and services. The commissioner may adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 to supplement and implement the provisions of this section. For the purposes of this section, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces and "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 13. Subsection (a) of section 27-102q of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) For purposes of this section, "veteran" means any person discharged or released from [active] service in the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, as amended by this act, regardless of his or her discharge classification.

Sec. 14. Subsection (a) of section 27-109a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) The Department of Veterans Affairs may establish and maintain, within available resources, a registry of data on members of the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, as amended by this act, who have completed a period of [active] service. The department may develop surveys for members or their health care providers to voluntarily provide data during or after such active service. The surveys and data shall be collected and maintained in accordance with the requirements of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-191) (HIPAA), as amended from time to time, or regulations adopted thereunder. The department may also create and release for radio and television broadcast noncommercial sustaining announcements to encourage veterans in the state to participate in such surveys, provide such data and otherwise enroll in such registry. For purposes of this section, "noncommercial sustaining announcement" means an announcement that airs during unsold commercial time donated by a broadcaster to a broadcasters' association and that is then made available to a state or federal government agency or nonprofit organization at a reduced rate for the promotion of specific public service programs or campaigns.

Sec. 15. Subsection (a) of section 27-122b of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) As used in this section, "veteran" means any person (1) honorably discharged [from,] or released under honorable conditions from [, active] service in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard or any women's auxiliary branch thereof, organized pursuant to an Act of Congress; (2) who has completed at least twenty years of qualifying service, as described in and computed under 10 USC Chapter 1223, as amended from time to time, in the Connecticut National Guard; or (3) who was killed in action, or who died as a result of accident or illness sustained while performing active service, in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard or any women's auxiliary branch thereof, organized pursuant to an Act of Congress, or in the Connecticut National Guard.

Sec. 16. Subsection (b) of section 29-161q of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) No person hired or otherwise engaged to perform work as a security officer, as defined in section 29-152u, shall perform the duties of a security officer prior to being licensed as a security officer by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Each applicant for a license shall complete a minimum of eight hours training in the following areas: Basic first aid, search and seizure laws and regulations, use of force, basic criminal justice and public safety issues. The commissioner shall waive such training for any person who, (A) while serving in the armed forces or the National Guard, or (B) if such person is a veteran, within two years of such person's discharge from the armed forces, presents proof that such person has completed military training that is equivalent to the training required by this subsection, and, if applicable, such person's military discharge document or a certified copy thereof. For the purposes of this subsection, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces, "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act, and "military discharge document" has the same meaning as provided in section 1-219. The training shall be approved by the commissioner in accordance with regulations adopted pursuant to section 29-161x.

(1) On and after October 1, 2008, no person or employee of an association, corporation or partnership shall conduct such training without the approval of the commissioner except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection. Application for such approval shall be submitted on forms prescribed by the commissioner and accompanied by a fee of forty dollars. Such application shall be made under oath and shall contain the applicant's name, address, date and place of birth, employment for the previous five years, education or training in the subjects required to be taught under this subsection, any convictions for violations of the law and such other information as the commissioner may require by regulation adopted pursuant to section 29-161x to properly investigate the character, competency and integrity of the applicant. No person shall be approved as an instructor for such training who has been convicted of a felony, a sexual offense or a crime of moral turpitude or who has been denied approval as a security service licensee, a security officer or instructor in the security industry by any licensing authority, or whose approval has been revoked or suspended. The term for such approval shall not exceed two years. Not later than two business days after a change of address, any person approved as an instructor in accordance with this section shall notify the commissioner of such change and such notification shall include both the old and new addresses.

(2) If a security officer training course described in this subsection is approved by the commissioner on or before September 30, 2008, the instructor of such course shall have until April 1, 2009, to apply for approval as an instructor in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3) Each person approved as an instructor in accordance with this section may apply for the renewal of such approval on a form approved by the commissioner, accompanied by a fee of forty dollars. Such form may require the disclosure of any information necessary for the commissioner to determine whether the instructor's suitability to serve as an instructor has changed since the issuance of the prior approval. The term of such renewed approval shall not exceed two years.

Sec. 17. Section 31-22u of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

Any member of the armed forces or National Guard or any veteran, within two years of such veteran's discharge from the armed forces, may submit an application for military training evaluation to the Labor Department program of apprentice training set forth in section 31-22q. Such application shall include (1) evidence of satisfactory completion of a program or course of instruction as part of military training that is equivalent in content and quality to that required for a specific trade in this state, and (2) if such applicant is a veteran, such veteran's military discharge document or a certified copy thereof. The Labor Commissioner shall evaluate any such application and determine whether the applicant's military training may be substituted for all or part of the term of an apprenticeship program registered with the Labor Department for a specific trade. If the commissioner determines that the applicant's military training is equivalent to the training required for completion of such apprenticeship program, the commissioner shall issue such applicant a recommendation for review by the appropriate examining board established under section 20-331. Presentation of such recommendation, pursuant to section 20-333, shall allow such applicant to sit for any licensure examination without participation in an apprenticeship program. If the commissioner determines that the applicant's military training is equivalent to part of the training required for completion of an apprenticeship program, such applicant's hours of qualified military training, as determined by the commissioner, shall be deducted from the hours of apprenticeship training required for the specific trade provided (A) such applicant completes the minimum number of hours of apprenticeship training required under federal law, and (B) prior to implementation of this provision, the Labor Department obtains concurrence with such provision from the federal office of apprenticeship pursuant to 29 CFR 29.13(b)(9). For the purposes of this section, (i) "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces, (ii) "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act, and (iii) "military discharge document" has the same meaning as provided in section 1-219.

Sec. 18. Section 31-3zz of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

The Labor Commissioner shall establish a Special Operations Resource Network to serve as a clearinghouse for veterans and members of the armed forces and National Guard who have acquired, as part of their military training, knowledge, experience or a set of skills most compatible with certain professional opportunities. The Labor Commissioner, in consultation with the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs and the Adjutant General, shall develop a database in which such veterans and members are categorized based on the types of military training received and cross-referenced against certain professional opportunities for purposes of pairing any such veteran or member with any such professional opportunity. Any veteran or member of the armed forces or National Guard may apply for inclusion in such database by submitting (1) evidence of the military training received by such veteran or member describing the particular knowledge, experience or set of skills acquired, and (2) if such applicant is a veteran, such veteran's military discharge document or a certified copy thereof. The Labor Commissioner shall evaluate any such application, include such veteran or member in such database, and so categorize such veteran or member as described in this section. The Labor Commissioner shall update such database weekly and shall publish such database on the Labor Department's Internet web site. Any person interested in hiring any such veteran or member included in such database shall contact the department through a dedicated telephone number and the department shall facilitate contact between such person and such veteran or member. For the purposes of this section, (A) "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces, (B) "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act, and (C) "military discharge document" has the same meaning as provided in section 1-219.

Sec. 19. Subsection (c) of section 51-49h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(c) For purposes of this section: (1) "Armed forces" means the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force; (2) "veteran" [means any person honorably discharged from, or released under honorable conditions from active service in, the armed forces] has the same meaning as provided in subsection (a) of section 27-103, as amended by this act; (3) "military service" shall be service during World War II, December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946; the Korean hostilities, June 27, 1950, to October 27, 1953; and the Vietnam era, January 1, 1964, to July 1, 1975, and shall include service as a prisoner of war.

Sec. 20. Subsection (b) of section 54-56e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) The court may, in its discretion, invoke such program on motion of the defendant or on motion of a state's attorney or prosecuting attorney with respect to a defendant (1) who, the court believes, will probably not offend in the future, (2) who has no previous record of conviction of a crime or of a violation of section 14-196, subsection (c) of section 14-215, section 14-222a, subsection (a) or subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 14-224, section 14-227a or 14-227m or subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227n, and (3) who states under oath, in open court or before any person designated by the clerk and duly authorized to administer oaths, under the penalties of perjury, (A) that the defendant has never had such program invoked on the defendant's behalf or that the defendant was charged with a misdemeanor or a motor vehicle violation for which a term of imprisonment of one year or less may be imposed and ten or more years have passed since the date that any charge or charges for which the program was invoked on the defendant's behalf were dismissed by the court, or (B) with respect to a defendant who is a veteran, that the defendant has not had such program invoked in the defendant's behalf more than once previously, provided the defendant shall agree thereto and provided notice has been given by the defendant, on a form prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, to the victim or victims of such crime or motor vehicle violation, if any, by registered or certified mail and such victim or victims have an opportunity to be heard thereon. Any defendant who makes application for participation in such program shall pay to the court an application fee of thirty-five dollars. No defendant shall be allowed to participate in the pretrial program for accelerated rehabilitation more than two times. For the purposes of this section, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 21. Subsection (c) of section 54-56i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(c) The court, after consideration of the recommendation of the state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney in charge of the case, may, in its discretion, grant such application. If the court grants such application, the court shall refer such person (1) to the Court Support Services Division for confirmation of the eligibility of the applicant, (2) to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for evaluation and determination of an appropriate drug education or substance abuse treatment program for the first or second time such application is granted, and (3) to a state-licensed substance abuse treatment program for evaluation and determination of an appropriate substance abuse treatment program for the third time such application is granted, except that, if such person is a veteran, the court may refer such person to the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, as applicable, for any such evaluation and determination. For the purposes of this subsection and subsection (d) of this section, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 22. Subsection (a) of section 54-56l of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) There shall be a supervised diversionary program for persons with psychiatric disabilities, or persons who are veterans, who are accused of a crime or crimes or a motor vehicle violation or violations for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment may be imposed, which crimes or violations are not of a serious nature. For the purposes of this section, (1) "psychiatric disability" means a mental or emotional condition, other than solely substance abuse, that (A) has substantial adverse effects on the defendant's ability to function, and (B) requires care and treatment, and (2) "veteran" means a person who is found, pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, to have a mental health condition that is amenable to treatment, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

Sec. 23. Subsection (a) of section 54-56n of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(a) The Judicial Branch shall collect data on the number of members of the armed forces, veterans and nonveterans who, on and after January 1, 2016, apply for and are granted admission or are denied entry into (1) the pretrial program for accelerated rehabilitation established pursuant to section 54-56e, as amended by this act, (2) the supervised diversionary program established pursuant to section 54-56l, as amended by this act, or (3) the pretrial drug education and community service program established pursuant to section 54-56i, as amended by this act. Data compiled pursuant to this section shall be based on information provided by applicants at the time of application to any such program. For the purposes of this section, "veteran" means any person who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from [active] service in the armed forces and "armed forces" has the same meaning as provided in section 27-103, as amended by this act.

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

Section 1

October 1, 2018

27-103

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

4-61bb(a)

Sec. 3

October 1, 2018

5-224

Sec. 4

October 1, 2018

7-294d(b)

Sec. 5

October 1, 2018

10a-149d(a)

Sec. 6

October 1, 2018

12-217pp(a)(10)

Sec. 7

October 1, 2018

12-81jj(b)(2)

Sec. 8

October 1, 2018

14-36(e)(3)

Sec. 9

October 1, 2018

14-36h(f)

Sec. 10

October 1, 2018

19a-179(b)

Sec. 11

October 1, 2018

20-206mm(l)

Sec. 12

October 1, 2018

27-100g

Sec. 13

October 1, 2018

27-102q(a)

Sec. 14

October 1, 2018

27-109a(a)

Sec. 15

October 1, 2018

27-122b(a)

Sec. 16

October 1, 2018

29-161q(b)

Sec. 17

October 1, 2018

31-22u

Sec. 18

October 1, 2018

31-3zz

Sec. 19

October 1, 2018

51-49h(c)

Sec. 20

October 1, 2018

54-56e(b)

Sec. 21

October 1, 2018

54-56i(c)

Sec. 22

October 1, 2018

54-56l(a)

Sec. 23

October 1, 2018

54-56n(a)

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Sec. 19, after "subsection (a) of section 27-103" ", as amended by this act" was inserted for consistency with drafting conventions.

VA

Joint Favorable Subst. -LCO

 

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:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Resources of the General Fund

GF - Potential Revenue Loss

See Below

See Below

Various State Agencies

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Resources of the Special Transportation Fund

TF - Potential Revenue Loss

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund; TF=Transportation Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Various Municipalities

Potential Revenue Loss

See Below

See Below

Explanation

This bill expands eligibility for veteran benefits and results in costs to multiple agencies and revenue loss to the General Fund, Special Transportation Fund, and Municipalities.

Section 1(a)(2) expands the definition of a veteran to individuals of the armed services who were honorably discharged without having engaged in active service beyond their initial training (basic) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). There are approximately 185,000 veterans in Connecticut as of 9/30/20171. It is unknown how many additional individuals would be deemed eligible for select veteran benefits under the bill. The extent of the potential revenue loss and the costs to agencies, therefore, is unknown. Below is a list of benefits that have a fiscal impact which this population would now have access to.

Section 1(a)(3) expands veteran war service benefits to veterans who served less than 90 days during a period of war due to an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty that isn't a service-connected disability and results in a potential cost to the state. The exact population this affects is unknown but it is anticipated to be minimal. The wartime service benefits with a fiscal impact that would be available to this population are listed below.

Section 1(b) removes a residential requirement for admittance to the DVA Residential Services Facility and Healthcare Center. There may be a cost to the extent individuals not otherwise eligible for service at the facilities due to residency requirements are able to receive service. It is anticipated that this will affect less than ten veterans per year. To the extent that they are Medicaid eligible the average daily per person gross Medicaid cost for the Healthcare Center is $758. The federal Medicaid reimbursement rate is approximately 50%. The average daily per person cost to the state for the Residential Services Facility is $1412.

The Out Years

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

OLR Bill Analysis

SB 287

AN ACT EXPANDING ELIGIBILITY FOR CERTAIN VETERANS BENEFITS.

SUMMARY

This bill extends certain state veteran benefits to reservists and Connecticut National Guard members without active service beyond their initial (basic) training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) (see BACKGROUND). It does so by eliminating the requirement that a veteran be discharged from active service from the general “veteran” definition under state law.

The bill also extends certain war service benefits to veterans who served in a time of war (see BACKGROUND) that lasted less than 90 days, but were separated from service before the war ended because they incurred or aggravated an injury in the line of duty that is not a service-connected disability rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (US VA).

It also removes current law's two-year state residency requirement for eligibility for certain benefits (e.g., hospital care and funeral expenses) for veterans who did not reside in Connecticut at the time of their enlistment or induction into the armed forces.

The bill also makes technical, minor, and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

RESERVISTS AND NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS

The bill makes reservists and National Guard members eligible for certain state veteran benefits that do not require wartime service including, among other things:

INJURY INCURRED OR AGGRAVATED IN THE LINE OF DUTY

The bill extends certain wartime benefits to veterans who served in a war that lasted less than 90 days, but were separated from service before the war ended because of an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, even if the injury was not a service-connected disability rated by the U.S. VA as is required in such circumstances under current law. For eligible veterans, such benefits include, among other things:

REMOVAL OF THE TWO-YEAR RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT

The bill removes current law's two-year state residency requirement for veterans who were not Connecticut residents at the time of enlistment or induction into the armed forces for eligibility for certain benefits, including, among other things:

BACKGROUND

Training

Basic training is a 10-week course that teaches recruits tactical and survival skills, including learning how to, among other things, shoot, rappel, and march. In AIT, recruits receive hands-on training and instruction in the specific field to which they will be assigned. The length of AIT varies from three weeks to over a year, depending on the military specialty.

War Time Service

Table 1 summarizes the dates and service conditions that constitute “service in time of war.”

Table 1: Post-1940 "Service in Time of War"

Operation

Date

Service Condition

World War II

12/07/41-12/31/47*

Active service during the war

Korean War

06/27/50-01/31/55

Active service during the war

Lebanon Conflict

07/01/58-11/01/58 or 09/29/82-03/30/84

Combat or combat-support role in Lebanon

Vietnam Era

02/28/61-07/01/75

Active service during the war

Grenada invasion

10/25/83-12/15/83

Combat or combat-support role in Grenada required

Operation Earnest Will (escort of Kuwaiti tankers flying U.S. flag in Persian Gulf)

07/24/87-08/01/90

Combat or combat-support role required in the operation

Panama invasion

12/20/89-01/31/90

Combat or combat-support role required in the invasion

Persian Gulf War

08/02/1990 until a date prescribed by the President or law

Active-service anywhere during the war (not necessarily in the Persian Gulf or in a combat role)

*Ending dates specified in CGS 12-86 for property tax exemptions.

Related Bill

sSB 284, favorably reported by the Veterans Committee, extends certain benefits, available to veterans honorably discharged or released under honorable conditions from active service in the armed forces, to veterans who (1) were discharged under other conditions, other than dishonorably or for bad conduct (i.e., other than honorable discharge) and (2) have certain qualifying conditions.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Veterans' Affairs Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

14

Nay

0

(03/14/2018)

TOP

1 Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics

2 Source: Office of the State Comptroller, Annual Medicaid Cost Report for FY 18.