The State Senate today passed legislation (S-1493/A-1944) sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove that would make various changes to membership requirements of the Veterans’ Services Council.
“The changes provided for under this legislation to the Veterans’ Services Council were recommended by members of the Council,” stated Senator Connors, a member of the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “After considering testimony and reviewing the provisions of the legislation over the course of two Legislative Sessions, I am fully confident the changes will allow for the Council to operate more effectively in carrying out its core mission, which includes formulating comprehensive policies for the coordination of all services for war veterans and their dependents.”
The legislation would, among other things, increase the Council’s membership from nine to twelve members as well as change the terms of membership from four to three years and limit membership on the Council to two terms. Additionally, the bill would require members to nominate a chairman for approval by the Governor, whereas currently the Governor designates the chairman. Lastly, the term “war veteran” within the Council’s statutory duties would be changed to “veteran” in order to encompass the conflicts and emergencies that the Armed Forces are currently engaged in.
“The recommendations set forth in the bill were made by individuals with experience and knowledge of how the Council operates,” added Assemblyman Rumpf. “Expanding the Council’s membership and ensuring full participation by its members will only improve the Council’s capability to shape State policies concerning veterans.”
Assemblywoman Gove, a member of the Assembly Veterans’ and Military Affairs Committee, went on to say, “This legislation has the full support of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The provisions within the bill offer the opportunity to improve upon services provided to our veterans by a Council dedicated to that very cause.”
The measure now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.