66th Legislature HB0172.01
1 HOUSE BILL NO. 172
2 INTRODUCED BY D. BEDEY
4 A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT ALLOWING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF COUNTY AND
5 MULTICOUNTY VETERANS' SERVICE OFFICES; PROVIDING FOR A STATE GRANT PROGRAM FOR
6 COUNTY VETERANS' SERVICE OFFICES; PROVIDING AN APPROPRIATION; AMENDING SECTION
7 10-2-115, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE."
9 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
11 Section 1. Section 10-2-115, MCA, is amended to read:
12 "10-2-115. County veterans' service officers County and multicounty veterans' service offices.
13 (1) A county may, with the advice of the board, provide for a county veterans' service officer office to assist
14 veterans and their families in filing benefit claims. If a county provides for a veterans' service officer under this
15 section, the officer must be trained, accredited, and supervised in accordance with the applicable provisions of
16 38 CFR 14.629. A county may fund the position as provided for in 15-10-425 or through other means provided
17 by law.
18 (2) The governing body of two or more counties may enter into a memorandum of understanding to
19 establish a multicounty veterans' service office that operates under the same guidelines as a single-county office.
20 (3) Veterans' service officers assigned to county veterans' service offices must be trained, accredited,
21 and supervised in accordance with applicable provisions of 38 CFR 14.629.
22 (4) A county may fund its veterans' service office as provided for in 15-10-425 or through other means
23 provided by law.
24 (5) The board shall:
25 (a) monitor the qualifications of county veterans' service officers; and
26 (b) ensure that the department of military affairs provides technical assistance to county veterans' service
27 offices whenever assistance is requested."
29 NEW SECTION. Section 2. Funding county veterans' service offices -- grant -- conditions and
30 reporting. (1) The board shall administer a grant program and award grants to county and multicounty veterans'
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66th Legislature HB0172.01
1 service offices from funding appropriated by the legislature for the purposes of this section.
2 (2) To receive a grant, a county or multicounty veterans' service office shall:
3 (a) have established county funding as provided for in 15-10-425;
4 (b) have established a physical office at an accessible location where veterans and their family members
5 may visit in person;
6 (c) provide for at least one veterans' service officer working a minimum of 1,000 hours annually;
7 (d) ensure that each county veterans' service officer meets the qualifications and requirements of
8 10-2-115; and
9 (e) ensure that all of the grant money received pursuant to this section is spent in support of veterans and
10 their family members.
11 (3) If the requirements of subsection (2) are met, a grant must be awarded:
12 (a) to a county veterans' service office established before [the effective date of this act];
13 (b) to a new county veterans' service office during the biennium immediately following the date it was
14 established; and
15 (c) each subsequent fiscal year a county veterans' service office continues to meet the requirements in
16 subsection (2).
17 (4) The amount of grant money a county veterans' service office receives is in proportion to the number
18 of veterans residing in the county or counties served by that office.
19 (5) A county veterans' service office that receives a grant shall report data and information to the
20 department at the end of the fiscal year in which a grant was dispersed. Reported data and information shall
21 encompass the following:
22 (a) disability benefit claims data and information, including but not limited to:
23 (i) the number of claim forms submitted by the county veterans' service office to the U.S. department of
24 veterans affairs; and
25 (ii) the number of notices of disagreement or appeals submitted through the county veterans' service
26 office to the U.S. department of veterans affairs;
27 (b) the number of medical enrollments submitted by the county veterans' service office to the U.S.
28 department of veterans affairs;
29 (c) the number of veterans' education enrollments submitted by the county veterans' office to the U.S.
30 department of veterans affairs;
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66th Legislature HB0172.01
1 (d) the number of county and state burial benefits processed by the county veterans' service office; and
2 (e) a description of any other ancillary services provided to county veterans, such as transportation
3 services, mental health services, homeless services, crisis intervention, and military records requests.
5 NEW SECTION. Section 3. Appropriation. (1) There is appropriated from the general fund to the
6 department of military affairs $130,000 for the biennium beginning July 1, 2019, for the purposes of [section 2].
7 (2) For each biennium beginning July 1, 2021, the department shall include in its base budget an amount
8 necessary to provide grants to all counties that have met the requirements established in [section 2(2)], taking
9 into consideration the population of veterans residing in these counties and the degree to which the county
10 veterans' service offices reduce the workload of state veterans' service offices.
12 NEW SECTION. Section 4. Codification instruction. [Section 2] is intended to be codified as an
13 integral part of Title 10, chapter 2, part 1, and the provisions of Title 10, chapter 2, part 1, apply to [section 2].
15 NEW SECTION. Section 5. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 2019.
16 - END -
Bill Draft Number:LC2064 Current Bill Text: Bill Type - Number:HB 172Short Title:Establish county veterans' service officesPrimary Sponsor:David Bedey (R) HD 86