New Vet Employment/Transition Bill
Senate VA Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced VFW-supported legislation to aggressively improve the unemployment rate among veterans. S.951, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, would require the Departments of Defense, VA and Labor to work together to improve the Transition Assistance Program and to identify barriers in translating military jobs into civilian employment. The bill hopes to offer unique job skills training, create new direct federal hiring authority, and improve veteran mentorship programs in the private sector. According to Labor Department statistics, about 27 percent of veterans ages 20-24 are currently unemployed. Read the committee press release at http://veterans.senate.gov/press-releases.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=1fc27742-327f-437d-9544-04058da51d3d.
Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011
In an attempt to remove the possible financial damage caused by last year’s Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvement Act, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) has introduced H.R. 1383, the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011. H.R. 1383 will temporarily authorize the VA to cover the tuition and fees for veterans attending non-public education and training institutions that have tuition and fees which exceed $17,500 a year. This bill would add back in a “hold no harm”element to the law.
California State Legislation
The California Senate is considering legislation that could make it easier for members of the armed services to transfer from California Community Colleges to the California State University. Senate Bill 1440, authored by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-San Fernando Valley, seeks to simplify the admissions process for veterans attending community colleges and who are preparing to transfer to a CSU institution. Along with SB 1440, the senator also authored SB 292, a bill that clarifies the language of SB 1440 while it is still in committee.
SB 1440 will establish the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act or STAR. The STAR Act will prohibit a community college from adding extra courses onto the students Associates degree requirements prior to graduation and transfer to a four-year institution. It also prohibits the four-year institution from making the transfer student retake courses of similar structure that had been taken at the community college.
Rhode Island State Legislation (H5724)
Creating a special legislative commission to study the feasibility of establishing a location at a Rhode Island College for Rhode Island veterans to go and get help with school work and/or post-traumatic syndrome disorders.