BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 287
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 16, 2013

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
                                Al Muratsuchi, Chair
                    AB 287 (Frazier) - As Amended:  April 9, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  : Vietnam veterans' memorial: update.

           SUMMARY  : This bill requires annual updating of the Vietnam  
          Veterans Memorial in the state Capitol Park.  Specifically,  this  
          bill  :  

          

          1)Requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs  
            (CalVet) compile a list of names of Vietnam veterans (List) to  
            be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Memorial). 

          2)Directs CalVet to compile the List by November 1, 2014, and by  
            November 1 of each year thereafter.

          3)Mandates that CalVet shall form a committee (Committee) by  
            July 1, 2014, chaired by the CalVet Secretary or his or her  
            designee and consisting of three representatives from the  
            California State Commanders Veterans Council and two  
            representatives from the Vietnam Veterans of America,  
            California State Council, to review and consider requests to  
            include names on the memorial pursuant to specified  
            requirements. 

          4)States that the Committee's decisions shall be final.

          5)Specifies that the List shall contain the names of those  
            individuals that are not included on the memorial at the time  
            the List is compiled, including the names of veterans that  
            were inadvertently left off of the memorial and the names of  
            veterans who later died as a result of illness or injuries,  
            including physical or mental injuries documented by the  
            Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, or  
            licensed medical professionals, that can reasonably be assumed  
            to have resulted from military service in the Vietnam War.

          6)States that any veterans' service organization or individual  
            may submit the name of a veteran to the Committee requesting  
            it to be included on the List.








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          7)States that the names on the List may be added to the Memorial  
            if adequate private funding is available and there is  
            sufficient space on the Memorial to accommodate the names.

          8)Specifies that this law shall remain in effect only until  
            January 1, 2020, and as of that date is repealed, unless a  
            later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2020,  
            deletes or extends that date.

           EXISTING LAW  : Construction of the Memorial was authorized by  
          Military and Veterans Code section 1303.

           FISCAL EFFECT  : Unknown at this time.

           COMMENTS  : The Memorial was completed approximately 25 years ago.  
           The Memorial is circular in design, with full relief bronze  
          sculptures depicting scenes from the war. The 5,622 names of  
          California's dead and missing are engraved on twenty-two black  
          granite panels. 

          According to the author:

               There are several reasons why veterans were not included on  
               the original memorial at the time it was constructed. Some  
               were inadvertently left off the original list. But many  
               others died after returning from service, as a direct  
               result of injuries or illness resulting from their service  
               in the Vietnam War, including conditions from Agent Orange  
               exposure which may take a long time to manifest.

               The intent of the memorial is to honor and remember  
               California's Vietnam veterans who died as a result of their  
               injuries from the war or went missing during the war.  The  
               bill would further that purpose by making the memorial as  
               complete as possible so that  all  California Vietnam  
               veterans are honored and no one is ever forgotten.

          If this measure passes, the criteria for inclusion on the  
          Memorial will differ from those used for the National Vietnam  
          Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  In particular, the  
          National Memorial website notes:

               ? [W]hile the Memorial Fund finances the name additions to  
               The Wall, we do not determine whose names are to be  








                                                                  AB 287
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               inscribed. It is the Department of Defense that makes these  
               difficult and often very technical decisions. Our  
               organization does not have the authority to overrule those  
               who adjudicate these matters. 

               Neither victims of Agent Orange nor PTSD-induced suicides  
               fit the parameters for inclusion on The Wall.

          However, there is no legal or policy reason that California's  
          Memorial criteria cannot differ from those used for the National  
          Memorial.  Indeed there are some policy reasons to include those  
          who, although they did not die in combat in Vietnam died later  
          from injuries, visible, invisible, physical or emotional, that  
          they received in Vietnam in service of our Nation.

           Suggested Technical Amendment:
           
          In Section 1301(c) delete the word 'individuals' and replace it  
          with 'deceased Vietnam Veterans.'

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          Vietnam Veterans of America
          California State Commanders Veterans Council

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by :    John Spangler / V. A. / (916) 319-3550