Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee
March 13, 2012
11 a.m., Room 8 E-B
- The promotion of PA Air National Guard Colonel Gerald E. Otterbein
of Hallam Twp., York County, to Brigadier General. Sen. Lloyd Smucker will
introduce Col. Otterbein.
- Senate Bill 345 (Baker) amends the County Code to provide
uniform, minimum standards for county Directors of Veterans Affairs. The
need for this bill was underscored by a recent study conducted by the Center
for Rural Pennsylvania, the Penn State Data Center, and the Institute for
State and Regional Affairs. That study confirmed that county directors are
being called upon to do more and more for veterans, but their training,
credentials, availability and support vary from county to county. This bill
mirrors Senate Bill 1393 of last session. A 2010 public hearing indicated
the need for strong, effective directors in every county, especially with
the closing of the Governorís Veterans Outreach Assistance Centers. The bill
codifies in statute what many county directors already do in practice. It is
supported by the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA), the
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), and the State
Association of County Veterans Affairs Directors
- Senate Bill 819 (Robbins) would remove about 600 nursing,
medical, and therapeutic staff positions at the stateís six veteransí homes
from Civil Service classification. The veteransí preference for hiring would
remain in place, as would any existing collective bargaining agreements. The
provisions of this bill were approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs and
Emergency Preparedness Committee last session, as Senate Bill 1076 of
2009-2010. The billís goal is to alleviate recruitment challenges and delays
in hiring at veteransí homes. This bill is supported by the DMVA and the
State Veterans Commission.
Senate Bill 1442, P.N. 2019 (White, Mary Jo). Updates the Code of
Military Justice. SB 1442 is supported by the Department of Military and
Veteran Affairs (DMVA), the Pennsylvania National Guard Association, and the
Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Senate Bill 1488, P.N. 2115
(Baker). Clarifies that the education gratuity/tuition voucher may
be given to the children and spouse of Guardsmen and women killed in the
line of duty, even if the Guardsman was not a resident of Pennsylvania at
the time of death. Priority for DMVA. The bill affects only a
few children, but it is important to extend this benefit to them.
(A Guardsman killed last summer in
Afghanistan had moved his family to Georgia, but his children remained in
Pennsylvania. This bill ensures that the surviving family members would be able
to qualify for this benefit.) SB 1488 addresses the benefit as awarded under a
1998 law affecting PHEAA.
Senate Bill 1489, P.N. 2116 (Baker) Companion to SB 1488. Also clarifies
that the education gratuity can be given to the children and spouse of Guardsmen
and women killed in the line of duty, even if the Guardsman was not a resident
of Pennsylvania at the time of death. Priority for DMVA. Amends Title 51
Senate Bill 1531, P.N. 2218 (Baker) Establishes the PA Veterans Trust
Fund (PVTF) to enhance programs and benefits for Pennsylvania's one million
veterans. In FY 2012, $1.7 million will be transferred to the PVTF after the
sale of the Scotland School for Veterans' Children campus ($700,000 of
this will be used for grants to veterans' service organizations; $1 million for
the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation to fund grants.) The fund will also
include proceeds paid by PennDOT for contributions from drivers' licenses,
registrations and special license plates.
PennDOT will begin accepting contributions as part of a
check-off system accompanying license and registration renewals. It is expected
to generate $500,000 per year. A special "Honor our Veterans" license plate is
expected to realize up to $200,000 per year.
Grants, gifts and other payments/appropriations to PVTF may be
made in future years.
The PVTF may expend funds for grants to the Pennsylvania
Veterans Foundation and other charitable foundations and veterans' service
organizations, to support new and expanded efforts by county veterans' programs,
for temporary assistance to veterans for the necessities of living, and to care
for Pennsylvania veterans' monuments.
Pennsylvania veterans will be able to request a veterans'
identifier (such as a large "V") on their drivers' license or PennDOT-issued ID
for non-drivers. Participation is voluntary and will require veterans to
provide documentation (DD Form 214, military ID, etc.) and pay a one-time fee of
The PVTF will reimburse the Motor License Fund for PennDOT's administrative
SB 1531 charters and recognizes the Pennsylvania Veterans
Foundation, an IRS-recognized charitable organization (501(c)(3) which is
already raising funds for veterans.
Pennsylvania will be one of the first states to forge a
partnership between state and county governments, as well as veterans' service
organizations and charitable organizations that support veterans. Number one
legislative priority for DMVA.