Report Title:

Veterans; Gender-Specific Services; Additional Services



Clarifies that gender-specific treatment and services shall be made available to veterans. To the extent funds are available, requires office of veterans services to provide various additional services primarily dealing with war-related stress.



H.B. NO.














relating to veterans.





SECTION 1. Section 363-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"363-3 Activities of the office. Except as otherwise provided by law, the office shall:

(1) Maintain or cause to be maintained, subject to the control and supervision of the office, [a center] centers statewide to which veterans, including their families and dependents, may come for information, counsel, aid, and assistance, including gender-specific services and benefits, and by which they may be directed or referred to any agency in the community whose function it is, by law or otherwise, to provide the services, assistance, or benefits which in each instance appear necessary or appropriate. Agencies to which any referrals may be made shall include[,] but are not limited to[,] departments and divisions of the federal and state governments, veterans' organizations, and [so-called "private" social agencies;] nongovernmental social services agencies;

(2) Assume the initiative, in cooperation with agencies in the community, for coordinating all services now available, and which hereafter may become available, for the use and benefit of veterans, including their families and dependents, to the end that maximum effectiveness of the services, including gender-specific services and benefits, may be realized, and overlapping and duplication of effort [as] between agencies may be minimized;

(3) Assemble, analyze, compile, and disseminate factual, up-to-date information with respect to:

(A) Benefits, rights, and services of whatever nature, including gender-specific services and benefits, to which veterans, including their families and dependents, are entitled, or which may be available to them; and

(B) The structure, functions, area of service, and other pertinent information regarding each agency and organization participating in the veterans' assistance program in the State;

(4) Cooperate with federal departments and other agencies which, by law, have responsibility for the administration of rights and benefits, granted by the federal government to veterans, including their families and dependents[;], including gender-specific rights and benefits such as breast and pelvic examinations and other general reproductive health care services and preventive health care counseling, contraceptive services, menopause management, Pap smears, and mammography;

(5) To the extent that funds are available:

(A) Contract with professional counseling specialists to provide a range of direct treatment services to veterans who suffer from the effects of their participation in any war or military conflict involving the United States, and to veterans in the Hawaii national guard or military reserves who served in:

(i) The Persian Gulf War, as defined in Title 38 U.S. Code Section 101; or

(ii) In an area designated as a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area by the President of the United States during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, or recognized as such by the Internal Revenue Service for purposes of exclusion from the income tax,

and their family members;

(B) Provide additional treatment services to veterans of the Vietnam war for post-traumatic stress disorder, especially for those veterans whose post traumatic stress disorder has intensified or surfaced due to the Persian Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation Iraqi Freedom;

(C) Provide an educational program designed to train primary care professionals, such as mental health care professionals, about the effects of war-related stress and trauma;

(D) Provide informational and counseling services to establish and foster peer support throughout the State for families of deployed members of the military reserves and the Hawaii national guard; and

(E) Provide for the families of veterans a referral network of community mental health providers who are skilled in treating deployment stress, combat stress, and post-traumatic stress;

[(5)] (6) As soon as possible after the close of each fiscal year, compile and submit to the governor, for [such] any use or distribution [as] that the governor may deem appropriate, a comprehensive report of the activities and operations of the office, and of all disbursements and expenditures authorized by the office under this section; and

[(6)] (7) Inspect every three years all state war memorials and veterans' cemeteries for repair and maintenance deficiencies, and report all repair and maintenance problems at these memorials and cemeteries to the adjutant general, the comptroller, and the legislature prior to the start of the next regular session."

SECTION 2. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.