California veterans and their families will receive several new state benefits – from cheaper college tuition to expedited vocational licensing – under a legislative package signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday.
The governor said in a statement that the 18 bills signed into law, “Here in California, Republicans and Democrats joined together to support our veterans. These bills respect the honor and dignity of those who serve.”
Public postsecondary education: academic credit for prior military academic experience
AB 2462 by Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego) – Requires the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to determine which courses should be awarded credit for prior military academic experience using standards of the American Council on Education.
Veterans: priority registration
AB 2133 by Assemblymember Robert Blumenfield (D-Van Nuys) – Increases, from 4 to 15, the number of years after leaving active duty that a veteran, who is a resident of California, is eligible for priority registration for enrolling in classes in the California community college, California State University, and the University of California schools.
Student residency requirements for veterans
AB 2478 by Assemblymember Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) – Expands the current exemption given to veterans from paying non-resident tuition at California Community Colleges by one year, as specified.
Professional and Vocational
Military spouses: expedited licensure
AB 1904 by Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego) – Requires boards under the Department of Consumer Affairs to expedite the licensure process for military spouses and domestic partners of military members on active duty in California.
Accountancy: military service practice privilege
SB 1405 by Senator Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) – Authorizes accountants to have their licenses placed on a military inactive status while engaged in active duty in the National Guard or armed forces.
Vehicles: commercial drivers licenses
AB 2659 by Assemblymember Robert Blumenfield (D-Van Nuys) – Allows licensed drivers of military commercial vehicles to qualify for a California commercial driver’s license without additional California driving tests.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans farm and home purchases
AB 1224 by the Committee on Veterans Affairs – Authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to adopt implementing regulations necessary to allow financing of cooperative dwelling units.
Department of Veterans Affairs: Veterans’ benefits reinstatement
AB 1505 by Assemblymember Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) – Reinstates state veterans benefits that were denied solely on the basis of sexual orientation when the federal government first reinstates those benefits.
Department of Veterans Affairs: reporting requirements
AB 2198 by Assemblymember Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) – Recalibrates reporting requirements in the annual county veterans service officers’ report to ensure these programs are maximizing support to veterans.
Department of Veterans Affairs: publicity of benefit programs for homeless veterans
SB 1198 by Senator Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) – Requires CalVet to provide veterans with information about federal veteran pensions, federal housing vouchers, and CalFresh.
Criminal defendants: mental health issues and restorative relief
AB 2371 by Assemblymember Betsy Butler (D-Marina Del Rey) – Provides restorative relief to a veteran defendant who acquires a criminal record due to a mental disorder stemming from military service.
Veterans: correctional counselors
AB 2490 by Assemblymember Betsy Butler (D-Marina Del Rey) – Requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to develop policies to assist veteran inmates in pursuing veteran’s benefits.
Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: State Council
AB 2202 by Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego) – Extends the January 1, 2013 sunset to 2016 for the Superintendent of Public Instruction to reconvene a task force to review and make recommendations regarding the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children
Adjutant General: support programs
SB 1413 by Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) – Allows the Adjutant General to establish support programs, acquire facilities and solicit and accept donations for the benefit of military personnel and their families.
Sport fishing licenses
SB 1287 by Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) – Requires the Department of Fish and Game to issue a reduced fee sport fishing license to active military personnel who are recovering service members.
SB 1288 by Senator Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) – Requires the Department of Fish and Game to issue a reduced hunting fee license to military personnel who are recovering service members.
Office of Planning and Research
AB 342 by Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) – Designates the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to serve as the state liaison with the United States Department of Defense.
Vehicles: veterans organizations license plates fees
AB 1550 by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) – Increases the fees required to issue, renew, and personalize specialized veterans’ license plates to fund veterans’ organizations.
Keith Boylan, Government Relations and Community Education Manager
Keith Boylan is currently the Government Relations and Community Education Manager. He manages the Combat to Community Program which trains law enforcement and other first responders on veteran issues of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries for handling related situations. He is a veteran of the US Army and served with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during the Gulf War.