2015/16 Legislative Platform

How AMVETS members can use this platform.  When meeting with the Congressperson, State Legislator, or city or county elected official from your local area, you can give them this platform which shows what issues are important to California’s veterans and their families.

LEGISLATIVE PLATFORM

This is the official Legislative Platform of AMVETS, Department of California. This platform outlines the legislative priorities and goals of the Department. It is intended to be both a report to AMVETS members on the legislative efforts of the Department, as well as a tool for legislators and other policy makers seeking AMVETS’ positions on Veterans issues. The Department will take positions on legislation which affect these goals and often will sponsor legislation to achieve these policies. On occasion, legislators have read the platform and initiated legislation on their own to implement these priorities.

The Department of California is primarily focused on legislation at the state level. AMVETS National develops its own national legislative platform and primarily advocates on Veterans issues before Congress and federal agencies.

Use this platform:  When meeting with a State Legislator or any elected official from your local area, you can give them this platform which shows what issues are important to California’s veterans and their families.

STATE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

 COUNTY VETERAN SERVICE OFFICE [CVSO] FUNDING INCREASE AND GRANTS FOR VSO’S

 Support increasing funding to the $11 million authorized level for the CVSO offices to provide assistance to California’s veterans to navigate the claims process to access all benefits, state and federal due our veterans. California is home to approximately two million veterans. Currently, the state budget allocates $5.6 million in onetime funding to the County Veterans Service Offices (CVSO) in 58 California counties. CVSOs are the first contact for most veterans and are historically able to bring in $100 of federal veterans benefits for every $1 spent by the state. Without full funding, every year approximately 30 thousand newest veterans are released from active duty in California and will not get the government benefits for which they earned though their service in the military. TEAM AMVETS strives to insure the VA becomes current with today’s Veterans needs.

Support State funding for the establishment and operation of Veterans Treatment Courts in each county

Support state grants to veterans service organizations to work with California VSOs’ on veterans outreach and filing claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Support legislation that would improve the eligibility criteria for veterans to meet Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program requirements.

Support legislation that would expand the eligibility criteria for VA Dental Services for veterans eligible for VA Healthcare.

Veterans’ Employment:   Develop initiatives to improve the climate for veterans’ employment by mandating or encouraging the state to expand veterans’ preferences in public-sector employment.

Develop initiatives to increase opportunities for Veterans employment in the private sector.

Veterans Education:   Work with California colleges and universities to ensure that student Veterans receive all information on federal and state educational benefits, tuition waivers for children of disabled Veterans, and how to apply and access both the state and federal benefits they have earned by virtue of their service.

Veterans Benefits:   Support the Governor’s cabinet level Inter-agency Veterans Council (IVC) to improve coordination among governmental, municipal and private sector organizations to improve services and support for Veterans and their families. Encourage the IVC to focus initially on homelessness, healthcare, and outreach to underserved women and minority Veterans.

Veterans’ Homelessness Reduction and Treatment: Work with the VA, Cal-Vet community based and faith based organizations, municipal, and private sector organizations to address the root causes of Veteran’s homelessness by improving veterans employment opportunities, increasing substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, using California’s alternative sentencing law, funding Veterans Courts, developing affordable housing programs or VA Homes and improving rehabilitation efforts for homeless Veterans.

Veterans Healthcare: Continually strive to ensure that California’s veterans receive information about their federal VA healthcare benefits including: Counseling and information about treatment options for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and physical disabilities, How to apply for compensation, and how better to appeal denied claims.