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march/april 2008

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On Convention Resolutions

It’s that time of the year for taking care of administrivia. However, it gives me the opportunity to report on the committee’s Convention Resolutions.

As for E-1, Veterans Preference has not had significant legislation, but the Office of Personnel Management did issue new regulations which, if properly used, will redress the problem of eligible preference. As of this writing, we have not heard of any state actions.

With E-2, dealing with job training and other services, there has not been any accountability legislation introduced. This does not come as a surprise, since the word “accountability” in all federal agency matters seems to have been left out of the dictionary. However, all committees continue to press for accountability for the good of all Americans.

E-3, issues dealing with veterans in business, seems to be one of the areas in which the Task Force for Veterans Entrepreneurship (VET-Force) has received much attention. There is a continued effort by the group as a whole and the other VSOs to have the laws (PL 106-50, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 1999, and PL 108-83, the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003) and the President’s Executive Order (EO 13-360) enforced. I can report that Missouri has a couple of bills getting that state to do at least 3 percent of agency contracts with veteran and service-disabled veteran business owners. State governments seem to follow the leadership of the federal government: six to nine months is considered the speed of light.

The comprehensive employment resource development program, E-18, still needs lots of help. The VA budget that is being proposed does call for additional funding for mental health. We were able, with the help of the other VSOs, to have the two-year window for Reserve and National Guard veterans to get into the VA system extended to five years. The next step is to have the five years extended to ten, or the time limit eliminated completely.

The committee is represented on the Department of Homeland Security’s Veterans Outreach Advisory Council, with the mission of hiring more veterans.

E-4, “A Meaningful Job at a Living Wage,” is being worked on by various members.

As with the statement on each Resolution, “subject to the availability of funds,” most activities have not had much accomplished. With budget constraints, none of the guides has been published and the printing of the business card to be given to returning troops has not been printed, except in some states.

If any of you know about activities in your state that deal with any of the committee’s issues, please talk to somebody on our committee. All committees need the entire organization to get involved in caring enough to make a difference. Our committee appreciates the work others have done without fanfare. It is understood that we all do things without wanting any accolades, but we cannot help each other and our brother and sister veterans if we do not know what is being accomplished in other states.

Thanks much for what you do for veterans and keep up the good work.

Committee members: Alan Gibson, Chair; Lupe Alviar, Bob Caswell, Ric Davidge, Wayne Gatewood, Calvin Gross, Bob Hesser, Joe Jennings, Keith King, Bob Sharps, Jim Shott, Connie Steers; Special Advisers: Judy Bolio, James Gilmer, Adrian Guglielmo, Patrick Heavey, Pat Kerr, Joe Wynn; Staff Liaison: Rick Weidman.



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