Legislative Issues

Legislative Affairs Co-Chair,  LCol Rod Hosler

April, 2018

Send in those postcards!

If you are a premium or life member of MOAA when you receive your April Military Officer magazine there are post cards on the back cover to be sent to your Senators and Representatives asking to support a pay increase that will keep military compensation comparable to private-sector compensation. SEND IN THOSE POST­CARDS! You can also e-mail your legislators through their web site, click the link on this page.

The President signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill after a threat to veto because of the gains for the military and the VA to include:
• opioid abuse treatment and prevention;
• mental health programs, includ­ing mental health screenings and additional services for veterans with other-than-honorable discharges before leaving service, and suicide prevention outreach;
• research on gender-appropriate prosthetics and toxic exposure;
• development and implementation of the new electronic health record;
• efforts to reduce disability claims processing backlog;
• major and minor construction improvements; and,
• some portion of the FY 2019 appropriations for medical and benefit programs.
• A 2.4 percent pay raise for servicemembers, which they’ve been receiving since Jan. 1. (Learn more about the military pay-raise gap here.)
• $700 billion for the military – the largest year-on-year funding increase for DoD in 15 years. That includes $144 billion for weapons and equipment upgrades.
• A lift on defense spending caps, one of five things MOAA wanted Presi­dent Trump to address in his first State of the Union speech.
• Spending flexibility that will allow military leaders to use some funds appropriated this year in fiscal 2019.
• A $234 million funding increase for NOAA.
• Mental-health services for “bad paper” veterans that includes screenings before they leave the military. Metal-health support will also be provided to those who: served 100+ days on active duty, experienced sexual trauma, or served as drone operators.

But the Caring for Veterans Act failed as members of congress and VSO’s were con­cerned it was moving the VA towards priva­tization and taking funds for infrastructure improvements.

Then Trump fired Secretary Shulkin so it’s back to square one. It is hoped that after the congressional break for campaigning all parties to include MOAA will get back to the table and work this out.

There are several issues in the Veteran/Mili­tary Pending Ohio Legislature that affect the military and veterans:

Students in Military: To enact the “Stu­dents to Soldiers Support Act” regarding the participation of students who are serving in the uniformed services in extracurricular activities at public and non public schools and public and private colleges.

Professional Licensure-Armed Forces: To establish an expedited process to grant a professional license to an individual who is on active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States, or is the spouse of such an individual, and holds a valid license in another state.

Military Transfers: To permit persons who quit work to accompany the person’s military spouse on a military transfer to be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

Veteran Commissions: permit county veterans service commissions to elect to add two members to the commission, one who is a veteran who served in Operation Endur­ing Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, or subsequently in those theaters of operation, and one who is a military spouse.

Awareness Day: To designate the first Satur­day of May as “Veterans Suicide Awareness Day.”

Veteran Treatment: To permit courts to create veterans treatment courts and to allow courts to divert certain criminal defendants to participate in veterans treatment court.

Dog Registrations: To exempt certain disabled veterans from paying a dog regis­tration fee when application is made to the county auditor that includes proof that the dog is an assistance dog.

Veterans Waiver: To establish the Veterans Fee Waiver Program.