Governor Brown Signs Veterans Legislation

San Diego, CA…Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. joined local veterans, lawmakers and community leaders in San Diego Thursday to sign legislation to expand housing opportunities for veterans. “After veterans serve our country, it’s our duty to serve them,” said Governor Brown. “This new reformed housing program will make life better for veterans for years to come.”

The legislation (AB 639), authored by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), will ask voters to repurpose $600 million of existing veterans’ housing bond funds to use for multifamily, transitional and supportive housing. The bond will go before the voters on the June 2014 primary ballot. The Governor signed the bill at Veterans Village of San Diego.

“I am proud of the actions that the Governor and the Legislature have taken this year to tackle veterans’ homelessness in our state,” said Speaker Pérez. “Veterans have devoted their lives to the protection of our country and it is absolutely unacceptable when they cannot afford a place for them and their families to sleep. As citizens, it is our basic obligation to stand up for these men and women who have served our nation, and I look forward to seeing California voters approve this measure.”

In addition to AB 639, the Governor announced that he has signed the following bills today to help California veterans:

AB 143 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) – Until January 1, 2019, exempts from the use tax property purchased by a qualified active duty or reserve member of the armed forces or National Guard, or his or her spouse or registered domestic partner, outside the state and prior to the report date on official orders transferring the qualified service member to the state. Does not affect state law guiding use taxes on vehicles.

AB 150 by Assemblymember Kristin M. Olsen (R-Modesto) – Authorizes the Department of Parks and Recreation to offer a reduced fee or free day use of any unit of the state park, as specified, to veterans and active duty military personnel of the United States Armed Forces or the National Guard, on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

AB 151 by Assemblymember Kristin M. Olsen (R-Modesto) – Authorizes the governing board of a county to grant financial assistance, relief, and support to a disabled veteran, as defined.

AB 244 by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) – Requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) to sponsor a veterans’ special interest license plate and requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles to issue the veterans’ plate if CalVet meets the current statutory requirements.

AB 556 by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) – Adds “military and veteran status,” as defined, to the list of categories protected from employment discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The bill also provides an exemption for an inquiry by an employer regarding military or veteran status for the purpose of awarding a veteran’s preference as permitted by law.

AB 717 by Assemblymember Rocky Chávez (R-Oceanside) – Changes the role and composition of the California Veterans Board, requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to respond to the Board as specified.

AB 1057 by Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) – Requires each board and bureau, commencing January 1, 2015, to inquire in every application for licensure if the individual applying for licensure is serving in, or has previously served in, the military, ensuring a more streamlined and efficient process for licensing military veterans in professional careers.

SB 232 by Senator William W. Monning (D-Carmel) – Repeals a budget allocation for a loan to the Central Coast State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Ord, appropriates $1 million to the Central Coast State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Ord Endowment Fund (Fund) for construction of the Cemetery, and amends current statutory requirements of regarding the use of interest on a principal in the Fund. This bill also requires that any money transferred as part of the budget action granting a loan to the Fund be returned to the General Fund.

SB 272 by Senator Ellen Corbett (D-Hayward) – Prohibits implying any military veteran or military veteran service organization connection, approval or endorsement of any financial product, goods or services unless there is an expressed connection to that military veteran entity.

SB 290 by Senator Stephen T. Knight (R-Palmdale) – Extends, to a California State University undergraduate student, provisions exempting a California Community College student- who was a member of the Armed Forces stationed in this state on active duty for more than one year immediately prior to receiving an honorable discharge- from paying nonresident tuition for up to one year while providing the student up to two years following discharge to use this exemption, if the student files an affidavit stating their intent to establish California residency as soon as possible. Requests the University of California to also adopt the above policy.

SB 725 by Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) – Expands the types of local governments that cannot revoke the dedication of a specified veterans’ facility to include a city, or city and county.

SB 759 by Senator Jim W. Nielsen (R-Gerber) – Updates current law which authorizes donation of firearms or other weaponry to the California National Guard military museum to instead refer to the California State Military Museum and Resource Center located in Sacramento, and authorizes donations to occur at branch museums located at California National Guard facilities, as specified.

For full text of the bills, visit: