Support for veterans remains strong in state Legislature

CAPITOL CONNECTION
Joe Leibham  9th Senatorial District


Sheboygan CountyCharlene CobbCourthouse615 N. 6th St.Sheboygan, WI 53081-4692(920) 459-3053 Fax (920) 459-3055Email: cvso@co.sheboygan.wi.us Sheboygan CountyCharlene CobbCourthouse615 N. 6th St.Sheboygan, WI 53081-4692(920) 459-3053 Fax (920) 459-3055Email: cvso@co.sheboygan.wi.us In the 2013-2015 state budget, we allocated the following funding increases for veteran-related programming and expanded two programs that assist veterans and their families:

*Increased grant funding for veterans service organizations by $476,000 over the biennium.

*Provided $500,000 over the biennium to support an initiative that helps veterans wishing to start their own businesses.

*Provided additional funding and staff positions for the Veterans Homes at King and Union Grove to keep pace with increasing demand, and continued full funding for the Veterans Home at Chippewa Falls, which opened in February.

*Expanded the Veterans and Surviving Spouses Property Tax Credit to include unremarried surviving spouses of veterans who meet certain qualifications.

In addition to our efforts in the state budget, the Wisconsin legislature is also working on the following bills:

2013 Wisconsin Act 17 – Adding a veteran distinction on Wisconsin drivers licenses.

I was happy to author this proposal on behalf of the veterans in our state. 2013 Wisconsin Act 17 allows a veteran applying for a motor vehicle operator’s license or identification card to have his or her veteran status indicated on the license or card. This convenient designation diminishes the need for a veteran to constantly carry his or her DD-214, which contains sensitive information. 2013 WI Act 17 is a simple yet helpful way in which Wisconsin can honor our service men and women.

AB 201 – Giving veterans priority in registering for classes at University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Technical College campuses.

AB 201 gives military students on active duty and veterans priority in registering for classes in the UW system. I was pleased to vote in support of this effort. The bill has passed both houses of the State Legislature and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Scott Walker soon.

AB 114 / SB 106 – Creating a veteran-themed lottery program with proceeds to benefit military families and veterans in Wisconsin.

This bill would require the Department of Revenue to offer a Wisconsin lottery game with a veterans theme. The proceeds of the veterans lottery game would help fund current property tax credits for veterans and surviving spouses. More information about AB 114/ SB 106 is available here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/ab114.

AB 254 – Granting free admission for veterans at state parks and trails

Currently, Disabled Veterans are granted free admission to Wisconsin state parks and trails. This bill simply extends the exemption to all honorable veterans. More information about AB 254 is available here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/ab254.

AB 25 / SB 16 – Creating Disabled Veteran license plates for motorcycles.

This bill would create a special license plate for motorcycles owned or leased by veterans with disabilities. Wisconsin already has special license plates for disabled veterans, which qualify them to disabled parking privileges. This bill would add motorcycles to the list of vehicles that qualify for a disabled veteran license plate. More information about AB 25/ SB 16 is available here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb16.

The Wisconsin Division of Veteran Affairs (DVA) has a full list of all legislative proposals that would affect veterans online on their website. You can access this list here: http://dva.state.wi.us/Legislation.asp.

To learn more about the various Veterans programs available in Wisconsin, log on to http://dva.state.wi.us/ or contact your County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO). A directory of all CVSOs in Wisconsin may be found at http://dva.state.wi.us/CVSO.asp or please contact your local county office in the 9th Senate District:

Senate Bill 370: State Procurement and Construction Contracts with Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses

2009 WI Act 299 established the Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Program (DVB), administered by DOA. The DVB program is very similar to the minority-owned business program, which creates a statewide goal of 5% of state contracts be awarded to minority-owned businesses. Under the current DVB program, however, there is no percentage goal for contracts to be awarded to DVB’s.

SB 370 aims to strengthen Wisconsin’s DVB program by expanding the current program to include a 1% goal of state contract expenditures with DVB’s.

To view an electronic copy of SB 352, please visit this link: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/proposals/sb370.


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