Dems: Veterans Affairs Committee – All-Bill Summary 2018

May 31, 2018
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All bills passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor for her signature during the 2018 session. 

SF 2200 – Veterans benefits services, events disclosure
SF 2201 – Public Defense omnibus technical updates
SF 2366 – IDVA omnibus
HF 2420 Iowa national service corps program
*
HF 2502 – Standings: School residency for children of active-duty parents

 

SF 2200 is a recommendation by the Iowa Attorney General to strengthen laws applicable to for-profit veterans’ benefits services that provide advice or assistance for a fee.

A person who advertises or promotes an event, presentation, seminar, workshop or other public gathering on veterans’ benefits or entitlements must include a disclosure and disseminate it verbally and in writing at the beginning of the event. The written disclosure must be in the same type size and font as the term “veteran” or any variation of that term used in promotional materials or at the event. The disclosure must be in this format: “This event is not sponsored by, or affiliated with, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other congressionally-chartered or recognized organization of honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States or any of their auxiliaries; products or services that may be discussed at this event are not necessarily endorsed by those organizations; you may qualify for benefits other than or in addition to the benefits discussed at this event.”

The disclosure is not required if a government agency for veterans or an officially-recognized organization of veterans has given permission to use the agency’s or organization’s name for the event, or if the event is part of an accredited continuing legal education course. The provisions do not apply to government employees or volunteers acting in their official capacity. The Attorney General can obtain injunctive relief for unfair practices and recover a civil penalty of up to $40,000 per violation. Any civil penalty recovered will go to the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund. The prohibition does not apply to those authorized under the federal “Veterans Benefits” provisions in U.S. Code Title 38, such as those who gather personal or financial information to prepare documents for veterans.

 

SF 2201 is a recommendation by the Department of Public Defense. It authorizes the Adjutant General to establish and manage self-funded Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities and activities for the Iowa National Guard, similar to those operated by the U.S. Armed Forces on military reservations and air bases, and designate suitable buildings and land on National Guard properties. For example, this would allow food trucks to offer services at Camp Dodge in Johnston. The bill also requires law enforcement officers to assign a case number to a sexual assault allegation and initiate an investigation. This more closely mirrors federal military requirements while preserving the discretion of local law enforcement to close a case that does not meet evidentiary requirements for prosecution. The Iowa State Bar Association supports this change.

 

SF 2366 is based on recommendations from the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs. It increases the number of members on the Commission from nine to 11. The new members will represent the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Iowa Association of County Commissioners and Veteran Service Officers. The appointees are selected from names submitted by the organizations. The bill increases the amount that may be spent each fiscal year from the Veterans Trust Fund from $300,000 to $500,000, which is transferred to the fund from the Iowa Lottery Authority from lottery revenues. It also authorizes the Trust Fund to grant up to $1,000 to qualified individuals for rental housing assistance (e.g., application fees) or one-time monetary assistance to prevent homelessness. This does not include rent payments, which is under Housing and Urban Development and other federal programs.

 

HF 2420 allows the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service to establish an Iowa National Service Corps program to provide opportunities for state agencies, political subdivisions of the state, and private, nonprofit organizations to meet state and local needs and provide opportunities for volunteer service. Certain existing programs and service positions are automatically part of the Iowa National Service Corps program. Participants are exempt from the state merit system and ineligible for unemployment compensation upon completing service. State agencies or political subdivisions will establish hiring preferences for Iowa National Service Corps or AmeriCorps participants. Funding is available through the Iowa summer youth corps established in Code section 15H.5. Funds may also come from the private sector, local, state and federal government sources, or other available funds.

 

*HF 2502 – Standings, Division XX – School residency for children of active-duty parents: Allows a parent or guardian on active duty and stationed at, residing or domiciled at Rock Island Arsenal to enroll a child tuition-free in a public school district in Scott County, which is contiguous to that out-of-state federal military installation. The parent or guardian must transport the child to and from a point on the regular school bus route without reimbursement. The student would be counted as a resident for purposes of school funding.

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