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Bill Signed by Governor Will Help Improve Quality of Life for Residents of California Veterans Homes

Budget cuts have led to the closure of activities designed for the general welfare of residents of California's veterans homes. AB 1739, signed by Gov. Brown, will help address that problem.

Earlier this month, Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill 1739, a bill I introduced to help improve the quality of life for residents of California’s veterans’ homes.

AB 1739 simply authorizes the administrator of a California veterans home to enter into an agreement with a home’s allied council, made up of veteran residents of the home, and authorized to represent the residents in various ways to run activities that enrich the lives of the residents.

Under current law, administrators hold discretion over morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities and activities at the veterans’ homes. MWR money may be used to provide for the general welfare of the veterans in the home, including a Veterans Home Exchange, hobby shop, movie theater, library, band, sports activities and celebrations. MWR money may not be used for things such as medical or related treatments, nor can they spent on maintenance of a home’s physical plant.

Unfortunately, due to budget constraints and other factors, many of the above mentioned quality-of-life services or activities have been shut down in recent years. 

The vets who reside at the state’s veterans homes come from various backgrounds, and many of them have expertise in a wide range of fields. They also have the desire to see that MWR facilities and activities are available to home residents. What they lacked, until recently, was the ability to assume responsibility for operating the facilities and activities which are presently shut down. AB 1739 would allow them to assume that responsibility at the discretion of a home administrator.

Given their collective interest in taking on that role, combined with ongoing fiscal constraints faced by the veterans’ homes and the California Department of Veterans Affairs, AB 1739 offers a win-win solution that promises a brighter future for many of our veterans.

These vets fought courageously and defended our country with pride and valor. AB 1739 provides them with a vehicle for expanding their contributions to the welfare and well-being of other residents of the veterans’ homes.

Assemblyman Michael Allen is in a two-person runoff with San Rafael City Council member Marc Levin for the 10th Assembly District, which includes part of Sonoma County. The election is Nov. 6.

Levine also blogs for Patch.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

D Rex July 26, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Thank a Vet.....today!
Tina McMillan July 27, 2012 at 01:48 AM
It is good that you were able to receive the highest quality medical care. There are many servicemen and women who have been forced to wait for extended periods of time just to receive basic care and mental health counseling after returning home from service overseas. The number of vets affected by PTSD has risen and the lack of treatment options has been difficult to witness. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/20/us/veterans-affairs-dept-to-increase-mental-health-staffing.html "… The announcement comes as the department is facing intensified criticism for delays in providing psychological services to veterans at some of its major medical centers. The department’s own inspector general is expected to release a report as soon as next week asserting that wait times for mental health services are significantly longer than the department has been willing to acknowledge. Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat who is chairwoman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has also scheduled hearings next week about the delays. And last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, issued a scathing ruling saying that the department had failed to provide adequate mental health services to veterans. “No more veterans should be compelled to agonize or perish while the government fails to perform its obligation,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the majority. The Obama administration has appealed the ruling…."


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