In a move that local Veterans Service Officer Todd Conner called great news for our veterans, First-district Senator Ted Gaines has signed on as co-author of an Assembly Bill which would permanently increase funding and services to Lassen County veterans.
According to Gaines, in an email sent to Conner on Friday, AB 2703 would restore 5.6 million in assistance funding passed in a 2013 budget bill, but not included in the Governor’s proposed budget.
“The increase was approved last year because the Legislature knew the value in having CVSO’s help veterans obtain their federal benefits,” said Senator Gaines in the email. “Last year the CVSO’s helped veterans bring in about $400 million in new federal monies directly to California’s veterans.”
Gaines also said that the yearly fight and roller coaster of state funding makes it difficult for counties to train and hire the personnel needed to assist veterans in their counties.
The Assembly Bill drafted in February says in-part that, “The recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are creating an entirely new generation of veterans who may be eligible for federal veterans benefits because of their war service and their physical and mental condition. Californians make up to 10 percent of the federal military forces used in these conflicts.”
The California National Guard, according to the bill’s authors, and California-based reserve units have contributed significantly to these conflicts and many of these returning California veterans are not aware of the federal and state benefits that are available to them.