Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation enhancing the oversight of Michigan’s veterans programs by providing greater opportunity for input from those who served in the current wartime era.
Senate Bills 798 and 799 revise the membership criteria for the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Board of Trustees, county and district veterans committees, and the Michigan Veterans Facility Board of Managers.
“Our current wartime veterans bring so many impressive attributes to the table, including diverse skills and experiences,” Snyder said. “We need to give them a greater voice. For example, only one-quarter of Michigan’s 700,000 veterans are now eligible to serve on the trust fund board. We need to tap their dedication and vision to help make certain that our veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned. Ensuring the strength of these boards for the long term is a meaningful step.”
S.B. 798, sponsored by state Sen. John Moolenaar, gives the governor greater flexibility to appoint veterans who served within the past 20 years to the trust fund board. That flexibility extends to appointments of county and district committee members as well, which are made by the trust fund board. The board and committees distribute funds to eligible wartime veteran and their families to relieve temporary financial crisis or hardship.
Under the bill, membership will still include representatives of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans. It will be modified to include representatives of any other congressionally chartered veterans organization and independent members who would not represent a specific organization.
S.B. 799, sponsored by state Sen. John Pappageorge, revises the membership criteria for the Michigan Veterans Facility Board of Managers, which oversees the state’s two veterans homes.
Each board and committee member will have to be a veteran and have demonstrated knowledge, skills and experience in public service, business or finance.
The bills are now Public Acts 282 and 283 of 2011.
The governor also has signed:
• Three bills creating the Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council.
…..S.B. 509, sponsored by state Sen. Howard Walker, creates the council within the Department of Environmental Quality. The council will make recommendations to the DEQ on a final update to Michigan’s Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan. The council also will submit recommendations to the governor and Legislature on ways to fund the plan’s implementation. The bill is now P.A. 285 of 2011.
…..S.B. 510, sponsored by state Sen. Goeff Hansen, requires the council to recommend rules or legislation that will prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species through trade. The bill is now P.A. 286 of 2011.
…..Under S.B. 508, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, the council will develop recommendations regarding Michigan’s comments on the draft federal Vessel General Permit, including a proposed ballast water treatment standard. S.B. 508 is now P.A. 284 of 2011.