BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                  AB 717
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 16, 2013

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
                                Al Muratsuchi, Chair
                    AB 717 (Chávez) - As Amended:  March 21, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  : Veterans.

           SUMMARY  : Changes the role and composition of the Veterans Board.  
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Changes the duty of the California Veterans Board (Board) from  
            determining all policies for the Department of Veterans  
            Affairs (CalVet) to serving as an advisory body to the CalVet  
            Secretary.

          2)Deletes the requirements that:

             a)   A member of the Board have substantial training or  
               professional expertise in mortgage lending and real estate  
               finance.

             b)   A member of the Board have substantial training or  
               professional expertise in geriatrics, gerontology, or  
               long-term care. 


             c)   A member of the Board have an accounting or auditing  
               background, and preferably shall be a certified public  
               accountant.


             d)   A member of the Board have a degree in health care  
               administration or have experience in the financial  
               management of health care facilities.

          3)Requires that every member of the Board be a member in good  
            standing with a congressionally chartered veteran service  
            organization.
           
           4)Retains the requirement that a member of the Board shall have  
            substantial training, professional knowledge, or experience in  
            the issues faced by female veterans which may include, but are  
            not limited to, the following issues:









                                                                  AB 717
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             a)   Combat-related disorders;

             b)   Sexual trauma; and

             c)   Homelessness.

          5)Directs that nothing in the bill shall be construed to  
            prohibit any member of the Board from serving the remainder of  
            his or her term.
           
            EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Creates the Board. The Board shall consist of seven members  
            who shall be appointed by the Governor subject to the  
            confirmation of the Senate.


          2)Requires that all members of the board shall be veterans as  
            "veteran" is defined in Section 18540.4 of the Government  
            Code. One of these members shall also be retired from the  
            active or reserve forces of the United States military  
            service. One of these members shall also be a resident of a  
            California veterans home. 

          3)Requires:

          4)One member of the Board must have substantial training or  
            professional expertise in mortgage lending and real estate  
            finance.

          5)One member of the Board must have substantial training or  
            professional expertise in geriatrics, gerontology, or  
            long-term care.

          6)One member of the Board shall have an accounting or auditing  
            background, and preferably shall be a certified public  
            accountant.

          7)One member of the Board must have a degree in health care  
            administration or have experience in the financial management  
            of health care facilities.

          8)One member of the Board must have substantial training,  
            professional knowledge, or experience in the issues faced by  
            female veterans which may include, but are not limited to, the  








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            following issues:

             a)   Combat-related disorders;

             b)   Sexual trauma;

             c)   Homelessness.

          9)Provides that Board appointments shall be for terms of four  
            years.

          10)Mandates that the member of the board who is a resident of a  
            California veterans home shall be appointed for a term  
            expiring January 15 of an odd-numbered year. Subsequent  
            appointments shall be made on a rotational basis based on the  
            age of the home, beginning with the oldest veterans home with  
            independent living.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown at this time.

           COMMENTS  :   

          According to the author:

               AB 717 is a much needed change that will encourage our  
               board members to become more invested in the well-being of  
               California Veterans. Currently the appointees to the CVB  
               must represent very specific professional areas including a  
               mortgage expert, aging care professional, auditor, and  
               healthcare administrator. These professional requirements  
               were added to infuse expertise into CDVA when the board was  
               used to establish operational policy, a practice which was  
               retired over forty years ago.  Not only are these  
               professions not useful in fulfilling the job of an  
               oversight board, but the application pool is significantly  
               restricted.

               Secondly, current law states that the CVB sets policy for  
               CDVA. This has not been common practice in forty years as  
               CDVA has grown. AB 717 updates law to reflect current  
               practice of using the CVB as an advisory board to the  
               Secretary of CDVA.

          Since the board's inception there have been a number of bills  
          requiring particular expertise for increasing numbers of the  








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          Board members.  Anecdotal evidence is that it has been difficult  
          to fill seats on the Board due to the highly specialized nature  
          of the many requirements.  If indeed it has been difficult to  
          fill the seats because of the restrictive nature of the  
          appointment conditions, this measure should address that in  
          large part.

          The decision to remove most of these requirements does represent  
          a policy shift, however, from a highly regulated approach to the  
          composition of the Board to an approach which transfers much  
          more discretion to the appointment process and the Governor.  

          A significant policy shift is also present in the proposal as it  
          changes the role of the Board from determining all policies of  
          CalVet to serving as an advisory body.  Discussions with the  
          Board and CalVet staff suggest that the bill will, as the author  
          suggests, conform the code to the status quo.  Nevertheless, a  
          policy question for members is present as to whether to alter  
          the statutory role of the Board.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California State Commanders Veterans Council

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