BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó




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                                      CONSENT 


          Bill No:  AB 1530
          Author:   Committee on Veterans Affairs 
          Introduced:3/18/15  
          Vote:     21  

           SENATE VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE:  5-0, 6/23/15
           AYES:  Nielsen, Hueso, Allen, Nguyen, Roth

          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  78-0, 5/14/15 (Consent) - See last page for  
            vote

           SUBJECT:   Veterans: service advocate: correctional facilities


          SOURCE:    Author


          DIGEST:  This bill revises the definition of "veteran" within  
          Article 6 of the Penal Code, which pertains to state prison  
          inmates who have served in the United States Armed Forces.


          ANALYSIS:   


          Existing law:


          1)Requires the California Department of Corrections and  
            Rehabilitation (CDCR) to develop guidance policies relative to  
            the release of veterans who are inmates with the intent to  
            assist veterans who are inmates in pursuing claims for federal  
            veterans' benefits, or in establishing rights to any other  








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            privilege, preference, care, or compensation provided under  
            federal or state law because of honorable service in the  
            military.


          2)Authorizes a veterans service organization to volunteer to  
            serve as a veterans service advocate at each facility that is  
            under the jurisdiction of CDCR.


          3)Authorizes the advocate to develop a veterans economic  
            recidivism prevention plan for each inmate who is a veteran.


          4)Defines "veteran" for these purposes as a person who has been  
            discharged from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force,  
            Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, or American Red  
            Cross.


          This bill revises the definition of "veteran" in Section 2695.5  
          of the Penal Code as follows:


          1)Deletes the reference to the American Red Cross; and  


           2)Includes a person who has been discharged from any state's  
            National Guard.  


           Background


          In popular usage, the term "veteran" commonly applies to any  
          person who served with a military, naval, or air service branch  
          of the United States Armed Forces. In technical and legal usage,  
          the term "veteran" applies to those who have served on  
          qualifying active duty (as specified by Title 10, United States  
          Code) and whose discharge or release from active service was  
          under conditions other than dishonorable.









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          Relevant federal law:


          1)Limits the veterans' benefits a veteran may receive while  
            he/she is incarcerated for a felony, except provides a 60-day  
            grace period where the incarcerated veteran may still receive  
            full benefits.  The withholding of benefits begins on the 61st  
            day of incarceration.


          2)States that an incarcerated veteran is entitled to full  
            benefits while he or she is participating in a work-release  
            program or is residing in a halfway house.


          3)Allows the dependents of an incarcerated felon to receive an  
            apportionment of the benefits to which the incarcerated  
            veteran would have been entitled, unless the dependent is  
            incarcerated for a felony.


          4)Prohibits compensation on behalf of a veteran for any period  
            during which he/she is a "fugitive felon," as defined.


          5)Restores withheld benefits if a conviction is overturned on  
            appeal.


          Relevant California law:


          1)Contains provisions assisting California veterans with farm  
            and home loan assistance, business enterprise opportunities,  
            and educational assistance.


          2)Requires CDCR to "conduct assessments of all inmates that  
            include, but are not limited to, the inmate's history of  
            substance abuse, medical and mental health, education, family  
            background, criminal activity, and social functioning.  The  








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            assessments shall be used to place inmates in programs that  
            will aid in reentry to society and that will most likely  
            reduce the inmate's chances of reoffending."


          In 2012, AB 2490 (Butler, Chapter 407) added the requirement  
          that CDCR develop policies to assist veteran inmates in pursuing  
          veteran's benefits. It also allowed CDCR to coordinate with the  
          Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), county veterans  
          services officers (CVSOs), or veterans service organizations  
          (American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, etc.) in developing  
          the policies.


          AB 2490 required CDCR to develop guidance policies relative to  
          the release of veterans who are inmates.  The policies must  
          assist veterans, who are inmates pursuing claims for federal  
          veteran's benefits, or establishing rights to any other  
          privilege, preference, care, or compensation which veterans are  
          entitled under federal or state law.  The bill states that CDCR,  
          in developing the policies, may coordinate with CalVet, CVSOs or  
          veterans service organizations.


          Comments


          1)The author's intent is to assist former military members who  
            are incarcerated as they may be eligible for benefits not  
            available to those who have not undertaken military service.   
            It has been the policy of this state to include the National  
            Guard explicitly where appropriate to clarify that its members  
            are included.  


          2)The American Red Cross is not a military organization, and  
            current or former employment with this organization does not  
            convey veteran status.

          Related/Prior Legislation










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          AB 2263 (Bradford, Chapter 652, Statutes of 2014) (1) authorized  
          a veterans service organization to volunteer to serve as a  
          veterans service advocate at each facility under the  
          jurisdiction of CDCR to assist veteran inmates with securing  
          specified benefits upon their release and (2) defined "veteran"  
          for this purpose.


          AB 2490 (Butler, Chapter 407, Statutes of 2012) required CDCR to  
          develop guidance policies assisting inmates, who are military  
          veterans, in pursuing claims for legitimately earned federal  
          veterans' benefits.


          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   No


          SUPPORT:   (Verified7/8/15)


          AMVETS - Department of California
          Jewish War Veterans
          Military Officers Association of America - California Council of  
          Chapters
          Vietnam Veterans of American - California State Council


          OPPOSITION:   (Verified7/8/15)


          None received

          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  78-0, 5/14/15
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chang,  
            Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle,  
            Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez,  
            Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Irwin, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Lopez, Low,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Melendez, Mullin,  








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            Nazarian, Obernolte, O'Donnell, Olsen, Patterson, Perea,  
            Quirk, Rendon, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago,  
            Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber,  
            Wilk, Williams, Wood, Atkins
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Linder, Medina


          Prepared by:Wade Cooper Teasdale / V.A. / (916) 651-1503
          7/8/15 15:48:32


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