BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             JEFF DENHAM, CHAIRMAN

          Bill No:        SB 1127
          Author:         Oropeza
          Version:        As amended March 22, 2010
          Hearing Date:   April 13, 2010
          Fiscal:         Yes
          Consultant:     Donald E. Wilson

                                 SUBJECT OF BILL
          Notification for veterans' families.  

                                   PROPOSED LAW
          Requires outreach from the California Department of  
          Veterans' Affairs (CDVA) to the families of returning  
          veterans to help veterans reintegrate after returning to  
                          EXISTING LAW AND BACKGROUND
             1.   Returning veterans can often have problems  
               reintegrating to society after some of the things they  
               have witnessed in war.

             2.   After the Civil War, soldiers who returned without  
               the social skills of an average person were said to  
               have the ailment of "a soldiers' heart".

             3.   In the modern era American society witnessed the  
               problem of reintegration in the early 1980s when it  
               was discovered that many of the people on skid row  
               were Vietnam Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress  
               Syndrome, now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  

             4.   Soldiers have a tendency when on the verge of  
               discharge to not bring up unresolved issues for fear  
               of a delay in separation from the military.  So  


               soldiers may often return home undiagnosed with no  
               immediate help.

             5.   Traditionally it is the Federal Government's  
               responsibility to take care of veterans, but as more  
               and more unseen ailments such as PTSD and Traumatic  
               Brain Injury (TBI) are affecting veterans who are  
               being discharged without diagnosis and without  
               notification to the Federal Veterans' Administration  

             6.   As a result of unseen and undiagnosed ailments  
               these veterans then fall through the cracks of the VA  
               health system and land on county mental health  
               systems, which according to the funding in that  
               county, may or may not cover that particular ailment.

             7.   When these conditions go untreated some veterans  
               turn to drugs and alcohol (now euphemistically called  
               "self-medicating") and can often lose what few  
               benefits they have.  The loss of these benefits only  
               continues the downward spiral.

             8.   When veterans return home undiagnosed and outside  
               of the VA system, their family is often the only asset  
               left to help get these veterans help.

             1.   As presently written this bill is overly broad and  
               will be cost prohibitive.  The California Department  
               of Veterans' Affairs (CDVA) uses a model that assumes  
               there are on average four individuals in a veteran's  
               family.  Contacting veterans and family members would  
               create a necessity to contact over 8 million  
               individuals, which the department is not staffed to  
               do.  To create a database of several million people  
               and then hire the staff to contact said individuals is  
               not possible in this budget atmosphere.

             2.   The committee may want to consider the following  
               amendments to accomplish both the Senator's intent of  
               an outreach program to families while also preventing  

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               a budget impact that would not allow the program to go  
                  a)        Amendment 1 - Strike present paragraph  
                    page 2, lines one through four.
                  b)        Amendment 2 - Add clause declaring that  
                    CDVA shall make available user friendly internet  
                    resources for families seeking information and  
                    help for returning veterans complete with  
                    information on signs of pertinent ailments from  
                    various conflicts.  Information on what agency or  
                    whom to contact to help address the outstanding  
                    issue should also be linked to the internet  
                  c)        Amendment 3 - When possible counties  
                    should make facilities available to the  
                    California Department of Veterans' Affairs or any  
                    of its official representatives or partners such  
                    as County Veteran Service Officers or a private  
                    non-profit designated by the department for the  
                    purposes of reintegration seminars, briefings, or  
                    lectures.  If the seminars, briefings, or  
                    lectures are during regular business hours  
                    counties are encouraged to offer the facilities  
                    at no extra charge.
                  d)        Amendment 4 - Printed material for  
                    families shall always be made available to  
                    inquiring family members at any public CDVA  

             3.   This is a new bill.  This bill was not voted on in  
               its prior form.

          American Legion, Department of California; 
          AMVETS, Department of California;  
          Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council

          None received

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