senate Bill S4769

Directs the division of veterans' affairs to establish and distribute a veterans' bill of rights, and to contract with veterans' services outreach programs

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 20 / Apr / 2011
    • REFERRED TO VETERANS, HOMELAND SECURITY AND MILITARY AFFAIRS
  • 07 / Jun / 2011
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.1145
  • 13 / Jun / 2011
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 14 / Jun / 2011
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 24 / Jun / 2011
    • COMMITTED TO RULES
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO VETERANS, HOMELAND SECURITY AND MILITARY AFFAIRS
  • 06 / Jun / 2012
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE

Summary

Directs the division of veterans' affairs to establish and distribute a veterans' bill of rights, and to contract with veterans' services outreach programs.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A4220
Versions:
S4769
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Finance
Law Section:
Executive Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยงยง353-a & 361-c, Exec L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Cycle:
S8277, A11662

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4769

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the executive law, in relation to establishing a "veterans'
bill of rights" directing the division of veterans' affairs to provide
for the establishment and certification of veterans' services outreach
programs

PURPOSE:
Directs the division of veterans' affairs to establish and
distribute a veterans' bill of rights, and to contract with veterans'
services outreach programs.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Amends the executive law to add a new section
353-a to provide for a veterans' bill of rights which the Division of
Veterans' Affairs will be responsible for establishing, printing,
publishing, and distributing. The section includes text that shall be
included in the bill of rights. The Division will be required to post
the veterans' bill of rights on their website, and distribute it in
all offices of the Division, at all local veterans' services agencies,
and at every veterans' services outreach program and at every state
and local agency which provides services, benefits or assistance to
veterans.

Amends the executive law to add a new section 361-c to provide for
veterans' services outreach programs throughout the State. The
programs will provide veterans with information on, assistance with,
and referral to programs which provide services and benefits that
veterans are eligible to receive. The outreach programs will be
required to cooperate with veterans' agencies and local
municipalities and communities. The Division of Veterans' Affairs
will contract with and certify qualified not-for-profit organizations
to operate veterans' services outreach programs given specified
conditions and application guidelines. The outreach programs shall
provide services, counseling, information and referral services to
veterans based on need or eligibility, including referral to agencies
providing public assistance benefits and services.

JUSTIFICATION:
According to the Division of Veterans' Affairs, to
date, there are approximately 988,217 veterans in New York State. Of
these veterans, there are around 85,000 New Yorkers who have
participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom,
or both, since September 11, 2001. These "new" veterans, as well as
those who have admirably served our country in the past, are not only
mothers and fathers, but contributing members of their communities
who are expected to resume their everyday lives upon return. These
homecomings can only be successful, if New York State's
veterans are made aware of, and provided with, the proper information
and appropriate access to New York State services and benefits.

What we now recognize is that, among other things, there is a higher
incidence of post traumatic stress syndrome, rate of suicide, and
depression, among returning soldiers than ever before. At this time,


the Division of Veterans' Affairs maintains 71 local points of
access, some full-time and others itinerant. Hypothetically, if each
center serviced an equal amount of veterans in our State, this would
equate to an overwhelming 13,918 servicemen and women per center. In
light of these numbers, it is vital that New York State increase the
number of veterans' centers in order to provide services, information,
assistance, and support, in an attempt to successfully meet the needs
of the veterans, their families, and their communities.

This bill will enable the Department of Veterans' Affairs to certify
not-for-profit organizations to serve as outreach programs in order
to expand the network of agencies aiding our veterans by utilizing
pre-existing infrastructure. Such programs will be charged with
providing veterans information on assistance, referrals, and
counseling. To that end, a Veterans' Bill of Rights will be
distributed to each veteran at all veterans' agencies and centers and
will be posted on the Division of Veterans' Affairs website. This
will educate our veterans on the benefits and assistance afforded to
them in this State, and will ensure that each veteran has the
appropriate assistance in his/her transition from active military
duty to civilian life.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
The first of January next succeeding
the date on which
it shall have become a law; provided that effective immediately, any
action necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its
effective date are authorized to be completed on or before such
effective date.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4769

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 20, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. McDONALD -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Veterans, Homeland Securi-
  ty and Military Affairs

AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to establishing a "veter-
  ans' bill of rights" directing the division of  veterans'  affairs  to
  provide  for the establishment and certification of veterans' services
  outreach programs

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  The  executive  law is amended by adding two new sections
353-a and 361-c to read as follows:
  S 353-A. VETERANS' BILL OF RIGHTS. 1. THE  DIVISION  SHALL  ESTABLISH,
PRINT,  PUBLISH  AND DISTRIBUTE A VETERANS' BILL OF RIGHTS. SUCH BILL OF
RIGHTS SHALL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING OR SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TEXT:
                        "VETERANS' BILL OF RIGHTS
  YOU AS A VETERAN HAVE A RIGHT:
  (A) TO APPLY FOR VETERANS' BENEFITS;
  (B) TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE FROM YOUR LOCAL VETERANS' SERVICE AGENCY AND
THE NEW YORK STATE DIVISION OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS;
  (C) TO RECEIVE AN EXPLANATION OF THE SERVICES AND  BENEFITS  AVAILABLE
UNDER FEDERAL AND NEW YORK STATE LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS;
  (D)  TO  RECEIVE  WRITTEN NOTICE AND AN EXPLANATION OF THE APPROVAL OR
DENIAL OF YOUR APPLICATION FOR BENEFITS AVAILABLE UNDER NEW  YORK  STATE
LAW;
  (E) TO BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT;
  (F)  TO APPEAL ANY ADVERSE DETERMINATION OR DENIAL OF YOUR APPLICATION
FOR SERVICES OR BENEFITS AVAILABLE UNDER NEW YORK STATE LAW;
  (G) TO EXPECT CONFIDENTIALITY;
  (H) TO RECEIVE FAIR AND EQUAL TREATMENT WITHOUT REGARD TO  SEX,  RACE,
RELIGION, DISABILITY, ETHNICITY OR NATIONAL ORIGIN; AND

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD04221-01-1

S. 4769                             2

  (I)  TO BE INFORMED OF ASSISTANCE PROVIDED TO VETERANS IN THE STATE OF
NEW YORK RELATING TO:
  (1) COLLEGE ASSISTANCE,
  (2) MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING,
  (3)  HEALTH  BENEFITS  INCLUDING,  BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WOMEN VETERANS'
HEALTH,
  (4) SEXUAL TRAUMA,
  (5) FAMILY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS,
  (6) HOUSING,
  (7) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE,
  (8) SUICIDE PREVENTION, AND
  (9) SUPPORT GROUPS."
  2. THE DIVISION SHALL MAKE THE VETERANS' BILL OF RIGHTS  AVAILABLE  ON
THE  INTERNET  WEBSITE MAINTAINED BY THE DIVISION, AT ALL OFFICES OF THE
DIVISION, AT ALL LOCAL VETERANS' SERVICES AGENCIES, AT  EVERY  VETERANS'
SERVICES  OUTREACH  PROGRAM  AND  AT  EVERY STATE AND LOCAL AGENCY WHICH
PROVIDES SERVICES, BENEFITS OR ASSISTANCE TO VETERANS.
  S 361-C. VETERANS' SERVICES OUTREACH PROGRAMS. 1. THE  DIVISION  SHALL
PROVIDE  FOR  THE  ESTABLISHMENT OF VETERANS' SERVICES OUTREACH PROGRAMS
THROUGHOUT THE STATE. SUCH PROGRAMS SHALL PROVIDE VETERANS WITH INFORMA-
TION ON, ASSISTANCE WITH AND REFERRAL TO PROGRAMS WHICH PROVIDE SERVICES
AND BENEFITS THAT VETERANS  ARE  ELIGIBLE  TO  RECEIVE.  EACH  VETERANS'
SERVICES OUTREACH PROGRAM SHALL COOPERATE AND COORDINATE WITH, ON BEHALF
OF  VETERANS,  THE DIVISION, THE FEDERAL VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, LOCAL
VETERANS' SERVICES AGENCIES, THE SURROUNDING MUNICIPALITIES AND COMMUNI-
TIES, AND STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES WHICH PROVIDE SERVICES,  BENEFITS  OR
ASSISTANCE TO VETERANS.
  2. THE DIVISION SHALL CONTRACT WITH AND CERTIFY QUALIFIED NOT-FOR-PRO-
FIT  ORGANIZATIONS  FOR  THE  OPERATION  OF  VETERANS' SERVICES OUTREACH
PROGRAMS.  ANY NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION WITH QUALIFIED PERSONNEL, AND
SUITABLE FACILITIES, PROGRAMS AND  EXPERTISE  MAY  APPLY  TO  THE  STATE
DIRECTOR  FOR  CERTIFICATION  AS  A VETERANS' SERVICES OUTREACH PROGRAM.
SUCH APPLICATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED ON A FORM ESTABLISHED BY  THE  DIVI-
SION AND SHALL CONTAIN SUCH INFORMATION AND PROOF AS SHALL BE DETERMINED
TO  BE NECESSARY BY THE STATE DIRECTOR. UPON CERTIFICATION OF A NOT-FOR-
PROFIT ORGANIZATION AS A VETERANS' SERVICES OUTREACH PROGRAM, THE  DIVI-
SION  SHALL  ENTER  INTO  A  CONTRACT  WITH  SUCH  ORGANIZATION  FOR THE
PROVISION OF VETERANS' OUTREACH SERVICES.
  3. VETERANS' SERVICES OUTREACH PROGRAMS SHALL PROVIDE SERVICES,  COUN-
SELING,  INFORMATION  AND  REFERRAL SERVICES TO VETERANS TO THE GREATEST
EXTENT OF EACH VETERAN'S NEED  OR  ELIGIBILITY,  INCLUDING  REFERRAL  TO
AGENCIES PROVIDING PUBLIC ASSISTANCE BENEFITS AND SERVICES.
  S  2. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law; provided  that  effec-
tive  immediately,  any  action necessary to implement the provisions of
this act on its effective date are authorized  to  be  completed  on  or
before such effective date.

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