ISSUE IDENTIFICATION, DEVELOPMENT & ADVOCACY: As the voice of Virginia’s veterans, the Joint Leadership Council (JLC) identifies issues of concern to veterans, their spouses, orphans, and dependents and serves in an advisory capacity to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. Each year, the JLC presents a list of key initiatives for consideration by the Governor and General Assembly. So, when you ask, “What are Virginia’s veterans’ issues?” the answer is clear – these are the top issues. The Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations (the JLC) adopted several recommendations on July 13, 2011. These have the unanimous support of the 23 Veterans Service Organizations represented on the JLC. Additionally at its November 9, 2011 meeting the JLC made a decision to promote the additional recommendations identified by the Board of Veteran Services (BVS). All are included below. These recommendations were provided to the Governor for consideration during the development of the budget which will be presented on 19 December. Some may be included in the budget, some may be included in legislation proposed by the Governor, and some may not be addressed at all. Adoption of appropriate advocacy positions will be resolved by the JLC and BVS following the release of the budget.
LEGISLATIVE OBJECTIVES Unclaimed Cremated Remains of Veterans: Facilitate the honorable burial of the unclaimed cremated remains (cremains) of Virginia veterans in a state veterans cemetery by requiring funeral homes to provide the names of unclaimed cremains to the Department of Veterans Services (DVS). DVS can screen the names to identify those belonging to a veteran and determine if he/she is eligible for burial in a state veterans cemetery. Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Veterans Service Organizations: Recognize the community service and philanthropic contributions of Virginia’s Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) by establishing an exemption for VSOs from state and local Sales or Use Taxes. Voting Status of Ex Officio Members of the Board of Veterans Services: Strengthen the capacity of the Board of Veterans Services to fulfill the Powers and Duties set forth in the Code of Virginia by granting voting privileges to all ex officio members. Additional Citizen Board Members: Strengthen the capacity of the Board of Veterans Services to fulfill the Powers and Duties set forth in the Code of Virginia by increasing the number of citizen board members from 11 to 15.
LEGISLATIVE & BUDGET OBJECTIVES:
Delivery of Benefit Services: Improve the delivery of benefit services to Virginia veterans by (i) changing the ratio of Department of Veterans Services (DVS) claims agents to veterans to one claims agent for every 23,000 veterans; and (ii) providing an additional four GF positions and $350,000 (GF) to meet the new Code requirement and address other shortfalls.
Homeless Veterans: Reduce and prevent veterans homelessness in Virginia by implementing as many strategies identified in the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) 2010 study as state fiscal resources will allow. Education Services Staffing: Ensure that the Education Services Section of the Department of Veterans Services has the necessary resources to meet its new mission under the Post 9/11 GI Bill Improvement Act by providing two additional NGF positions. Care Center Staffing: Ensure that state veterans care centers have the resources to deliver quality care to residents by providing an additional 51 NGF positions and $2,700,000 additional NGF appropriation in FY13, to reflect the opening of the 40-bed addition to the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center. Hampton Veterans Care Center Pre-Planning Study: Ensure that a viable and appropriate site is selected for the construction of the Hampton Roads Veterans Care Center by re-appropriating up to $300,000 (GF) from FY11 to FY12 for a pre-planning study.
ADMINISTRATIVE OBJECTIVES Veterans Identification: Provide a simple, ready means of identification of veterans status for Virginia’s veterans by creating a Virginia Veterans Identification Card or by adding a veterans indicator to the Virginia Driver’s License/ID Card.
posted 11 dec 2011 provided by VCOC Legislative Chair for 2012/ Stu Williams
The documents provided at right are one page papers, outlining each recommendation.