Maine LD 1612: An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Strengthen and Align the Services Provided to Maine’s Veterans Regarding Enhancements to the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services

LD 1612 (subjects: DEFENSE AND VETERANS SERVICES DEPT , ADMINISTRATION )

Official bill page at mainelegislature.org: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1612&PID=1456&snum=127


Sponsors | Actions | Bill Text | Patterns of Support


Sponsors

Principal Sponsor: Rep. Louis Luchini of Ellsworth: (D – District 132) — e-mail | Facebook

0 Cosponsors:

Actions

Chamber

Action
2/25/2016 House Representative LUCHINI for the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs pursuant to Resolve 2015, chapter 48, section 7 reports that the Bill be REFERRED to the Committee on VETERANS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS and printed pursuant to Joint Rule 218.
Report was READ and ACCEPTED.
The Bill was REFERRED to the Committee on VETERANS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
Sent for concurrence. ORDERED SENT FORTHWITH.
2/25/2016 Senate Report READ and ACCEPTED, in concurrence.
REFERRED to the Committee on VETERANS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS in concurrence
3/23/2016 House CONSENT CALENDAR – FIRST DAY
On OBJECTION of Representative GIDEON of Freeport REMOVED.
The Committee Report was READ.
On motion of Representative GIDEON of Freeport, TABLED pending ACCEPTANCE of the Committee Report.
Later today assigned.
3/23/2016 House Unfinished Business
3/24/2016 House Unfinished Business
3/28/2016 House Unfinished Business
3/29/2016 House Speaker laid before the House
Subsequently, The Committee Report was ACCEPTED.
The Bill was READ ONCE.
Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) was READ.
On motion of Representative GOLDEN of Lewiston, House Amendment “A” (H-613) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) was READ.
On motion of Representative McCABE of Skowhegan TABLED pending ADOPTION of House Amendment “A” (H-613) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584).
Later today assigned.
3/29/2016 House Unfinished Business
3/30/2016 House Speaker laid before the House
Subsequently, Representative GOLDEN of Lewiston, WITHDREW House Amendment “A” (H-613) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584).
On motion of Representative GOLDEN of Lewiston, House Amendment “B” (H-617) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) was READ. (Roll Call Ordered)
Motion of Representative ESPLING of New Gloucester to COMMIT the Bill and accompanying papers to the Committee on VETERANS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS FAILED.
ROLL CALL NO. 539
(Yeas 72 – Nays 74 – Absent 5 – Excused 0)
Representative ESPLING of New Gloucester, moved to TABLE pending ADOPTION of House Amendment “B” (H-617) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584).
(Roll Call Requested)
Less than one-fifth of the members present expressed a desire for a roll call, which was not ordered.
Subsequently, TABLED pending ADOPTION of House Amendment “B” (H-617) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584).
Later today assigned. (Roll Call Ordered)
3/30/2016 House Unfinished Business
3/31/2016 House Unfinished Business
4/1/2016 House Speaker laid before the House
Subsequently, Representative GOLDEN of Lewiston, WITHDREW his REQUEST for a Roll Call.
Subsequently, the same Representative WITHDREW House Amendment “B” (H-617) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584).
On motion of Representative KINNEY of Limington, House Amendment “C” (H-626) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) was READ and ADOPTED.
Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) as Amended by House Amendment “C” (H-626) thereto ADOPTED.
Under suspension of the rules, the Bill was given its SECOND READING without REFERENCE to the Committee on Bills in the Second Reading.
The Bill was PASSED TO BE ENGROSSED as Amended by Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) as Amended by House Amendment “C” (H-626) thereto.
Sent for concurrence. ORDERED SENT FORTHWITH.
4/4/2016 Senate Report READ and ACCEPTED in concurrence
READ ONCE
Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) READ
House Amendment “C” (H-626) to Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) READ and ADOPTED in concurrence
Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) As Amended By House Amendment “C” (H-626) thereto ADOPTED in concurrence
Under suspension of the Rules, READ A SECOND TIME PASSED TO BE ENGROSSED AS AMENDED BY Committee Amendment “A” (H-584) AS AMENDED BY House Amendment “C” (H-626) thereto in concurrence
4/5/2016 House PASSED TO BE ENACTED.
ROLL CALL NO. 557
(Yeas 148 – Nays 0 – Absent 3 – Excused 0)
Sent for concurrence. ORDERED SENT FORTHWITH.
4/6/2016 Senate On motion by Senator HAMPER of Oxford PLACED ON THE SPECIAL APPROPRIATIONS TABLE pending ENACTMENT in concurrence
4/11/2016 Senate On Motion by Senator HAMPER of Oxford taken from the SPECIAL APPROPRIATIONS TABLE.
PASSED TO BE ENACTED in concurrence

Bill Text

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An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Strengthen and Align the Services Provided to Maine’s Veterans Regarding Enhancements to the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 37-B MRSA 3, sub- 1, D, as amended by PL 2013, c. 469, 1 and c. 569, 2, is further amended to read:

D. Have the following powers and duties.

(1) The Adjutant General shall administer the department subordinate only to the Governor.

(2) The Adjutant General shall establish methods of administration consistent with the law necessary for the efficient operation of the department.

(3) The Adjutant General may prepare a budget for the department.

(4) The Adjutant General may transfer personnel from one bureau to another within the department.

(5) The Adjutant General shall supervise the preparation of all state informational reports required by the federal military establishment.

(6) The Adjutant General shall keep an accurate account of expenses incurred and, in accordance with Title 5, sections 43 to 46, make a full report to the Governor as to the condition of the military forces, and as to all business transactions of the Military Bureau, including detailed statements of expenditures for military purposes.

(7) The Adjutant General is responsible for the custody, care and repair of all military property belonging to or issued to the State for the military forces and shall dispose of military property belonging to the State that is unserviceable. The Adjutant General shall account for and deposit the proceeds from that disposal with the Treasurer of State, who shall credit them to the Capital Repair, Maintenance, Construction and Acquisition Account of the Military Bureau.

(8) The Adjutant General may sell for cash to officers of the state military forces, for their official use, and to organizations of the state military forces, any military or naval property that is the property of the State. The Adjutant General shall, with an annual report, render to the Governor an accurate account of the sales and deposit the proceeds of the sales with the Treasurer of State, who shall credit them to the General Fund.

(9) The Adjutant General shall represent the state military forces for the purpose of establishing the relationship between the federal military establishment and the various state military staff departments.

(10) The Adjutant General shall accept, receive and administer federal funds for and on behalf of the State that are available for military purposes or that would further the intent and specific purposes of this chapter and chapter 3. The Adjutant General shall provide the personnel, supplies, services and matching funds required by a federal cost-sharing arrangement pursuant to 31 United States Code, Chapters 63 and 65 (2013); 32 United States Code (2013); and National Guard Regulation 5-1 (2010). The Adjutant General shall receive funds and property and an accounting for all expenditures and property acquired through such a federal cost-sharing arrangement and make returns and reports concerning those expenditures and that property as required by such a federal cost-sharing arrangement.

(11) The Adjutant General shall acquire, construct, operate and maintain military facilities necessary to comply with this Title and Title 32 of the United States Code and shall operate and maintain facilities now within or hereafter coming within the jurisdiction of the Military Bureau.

(12) The Adjutant General may adopt rules pertaining to compliance with state and federal contracting requirements, subject to Title 5, chapter 375. Those rules must provide for approval of contracts by the appropriate state agency.

(13) The Adjutant General shall allocate and supervise any funds made available by the Legislature to the Civil Air Patrol.

(14) The Adjutant General shall report at the beginning of each biennium to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over veterans’ affairs on any recommended changes or modifications to the laws governing veterans’ affairs, particularly as those changes or modifications relate to changes in federal veterans’ laws. The report must include information on the status of communications with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs regarding the potential health risks to and the potential disabilities of veterans who as members of the Maine National Guard were exposed to environmental hazards at the Canadian military support base in Gagetown, New Brunswick, Canada.

(15) The Adjutant General may receive personal property from the United States Department of Defense that the Secretary of Defense has determined is suitable for use by agencies in law enforcement activities, including counter-drug activities, and in excess of the needs of the Department of Defense pursuant to 10 United States Code, Section 2576a, and transfer ownership of that personal property to state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies notwithstanding any other provision of law. The Adjutant General may receive excess personal property from the United States Department of Defense for use by the department, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

(16) The Adjutant General may establish a science, mathematics and technology education improvement program for schoolchildren known as the STARBASE Program. The Adjutant General may accept financial assistance and in-kind assistance, advances, grants, gifts, contributions and other forms of financial assistance from the Federal Government or other public body or from other sources, public or private, to implement the STARBASE Program. The Adjutant General may employ a director and other employees, permanent or temporary, to operate the STARBASE Program.

(17) The Adjutant General shall establish a system, to be administered by the Director of the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services, to express formally condolence and appreciation to the closest surviving family members of members of the United States Armed Forces who, since September 11, 2001, are killed in action or die as a consequence of injuries that result in the award of a Purple Heart medal. In accordance with the existing criteria of the department for the awarding of gold star medals, this system must provide for the Adjutant General to issue up to 3 gold star medals to family members who reside in the State, one to the spouse of the deceased service member and one to the parents of the service member. If the parents of the service member are divorced, the Adjutant General may issue one medal to each parent. If the service member has no surviving spouse or parents or if they live outside of the State, the Adjutant General may issue a gold star medal to the service member’s next of kin, as reported to the department, who resides in the State.

(18) The Adjutant General may establish a National Guard Youth Challenge Program consistent with 32 United States Code, Section 509 (1990). The Adjutant General may accept financial assistance from the Federal Government or other public body or from other sources, public and private, to implement the National Guard Youth Challenge Program. The Adjutant General may employ a director and other employees, permanent or temporary, to operate the program.

(19) The Adjutant General may execute cooperative agreements for purposes described or defined by this Title and other arrangements necessary to operate the department.

(20) The Adjutant General shall act as the Governor’s homeland security advisor.

(21) The Adjutant General shall implement a program to identify residents of the State who are not considered veterans but are military retirees or former members of the Maine Army National Guard or Maine Air National Guard who successfully completed service.

Sec. 2. 37-B MRSA 501, first , as amended by PL 1997, c. 455, 17, is further amended to read:

The Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services, referred to in this chapter as the “bureau,” is established and shall provide informational services, program assistance, memorial facilities and financial aid to veterans in the State and their dependents in order to ensure that they receive all entitlements due under the law, are relieved to the extent possible of financial hardship, receive every opportunity for self-improvement through higher education and are afforded proper recognition for their service and sacrifice to the Nation. The bureau shall serve as the primary source of information for veterans in the State regarding all services, benefits and honors administered by the State and, to the maximum extent possible, services and benefits provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans’ service organizations and other organizations dedicated to serving veterans.

Sec. 3. 37-B MRSA 503, sub- 7 and 8 are enacted to read:

7. Marketing and outreach program. The director shall implement, as a core function of the bureau, a marketing and outreach program to increase, to the greatest extent practicable, awareness of services and benefits available to veterans and family members of veterans and to encourage veterans to seek the benefits and services to which they are entitled. The director is authorized to employ personnel dedicated to the marketing and outreach program objectives described in this subsection. The director is authorized to enter into memoranda of understanding with other state agencies to allow for the sharing of information to achieve the objectives of the program. The marketing and outreach program objectives must include, but are not limited to:

A. Identifying residents of the State who are veterans;
B. Increasing awareness of the bureau for veterans and family members of veterans;
C. Implementing media and technology to encourage veterans to self-identify to the bureau and communicating to veterans and family members of veterans about the services and benefits available to them;
D. Attendance by bureau personnel at events organized for and by veterans that, as determined by the director, facilitate the objectives of this subsection; and
E. Establishing benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of marketing and outreach efforts.

The program objectives listed in this subsection may also be used to assist the commissioner to identify residents of this State who are military retirees or former members of the Maine Army National Guard or Maine Air National Guard who completed service requirements but never served on active duty pursuant to section 3, subsection 1, paragraph D, subparagraph (21).

8. Records management system. The director shall acquire and maintain an electronic database with secured remote access capabilities to facilitate management of records of veterans, spouses of veterans and veterans’ dependents served by the bureau. When selecting a records management system, the director shall ensure that, at a minimum, the system is capable of:

A. Reducing reliance on paper records;
B. Allowing for immediate access by authorized users to update records;
C. Displaying a complete record of assistance provided by the bureau to veterans and veterans’ family members;
D. Providing improved customer service to veterans seeking assistance from the bureau; and
E. Identifying burial locations on a map of the Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery System.

Sec. 4. 37-B MRSA 508, as amended by PL 2013, c. 569, 4, is further amended to read:

508. Veteran service officers

Veteran service officers shall serve, assist and advocate for all veterans. A veteran service officer must be trained and conversant on the issues, benefits and definitions affecting all veterans, including atomic, Vietnam, Desert Storm and female veterans. The bureau shall have at least one veteran service officer who specializes in female veterans’ issues. The director shall regularly conduct an assessment of the number and geographic distribution of veteran service officers to ensure the number and location of officers is adequate to effectively serve veterans in the State.

Sec. 5. 37-B MRSA 514, sub- 2, as amended by PL 2013, c. 569, 6, is further amended to read:

2. Veteran service officers at veterans hospital. Sixty-four thousand five hundred dollars annually to each veterans’ service organization that has funded and maintained a veteran service officer at the Veterans Administration Hospital at Togus for at least one year as of January 1, 2013. If revenues in the fund are insufficient to make the full amount of the distributions required by this subsection, the director shall divide the amount of available funds equally between the veterans’ service organizations . A veterans’ service organization that receives funds under this subsection shall establish, in consultation with the director, methods to provide the director with data that demonstrate that the funds from the fund are being used to the maximum extent possible to support and assist veterans of this State in filing claims with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in an accurate and timely manner; and

SUMMARY

This bill is submitted by the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs pursuant to Resolve 2015, chapter 48. It implements some of the recommendations of the Commission To Strengthen and Align the Services Provided to Maine’s Veterans. The bill requires the Director of the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services within the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management to include marketing and outreach objectives as a core function of the bureau. The marketing and outreach objectives are intended to identify residents in the State who are veterans and also to maximize awareness of benefits and services available to veterans and family members of veterans. The bill also directs the bureau to acquire and implement an electronic records management system to create efficiencies and improve customer service to veterans seeking assistance from the bureau. The bill clarifies that the bureau’s purpose includes serving as the primary source of information for veterans regarding the services, benefits and honors provided to veterans. The bill requires a veterans’ service organization that receives funds from the Coordinated Veterans Assistance Fund to provide the Director of the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services with data demonstrating that the funds are being used to assist veterans in filing claims with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Patterns of Support

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Region:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Gender:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Party:

Pattern of Cosponsorship by Campaign Finance Classification:

Note: Maine Clean Elections Act (MCEA) Qualified candidates only accept a small dollar value of initial contributions early in their campaigns, pledge not to accept further campaign contributions from private sources, and receive public funding for their campaigns. MCEA Non-Qualified candidates choose not to obtain public funding and instead are free to accept campaign contributions from individuals, party committees, political action committees and business sources.


This information about LD 1612 was last updated on 2016-05-13.
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