TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO THE MILITARY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the United States military presence in the State is critical to the State's economy. Military spending in the State is approximately $8,800,000,000 each year and generates approximately 102,000 local jobs. The military's influence on the State's economy is second to only tourism.
The purpose of this Act is to expand the office of veterans' services to include military affairs and appropriate funds for those purposes.
SECTION 2. Section 26-21, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
"(b) The office of military affairs and veterans' services and the advisory board on veterans' services as constituted by chapter 363 are placed within the department of defense for administrative purposes."
SECTION 3. Section 249-9.2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) In lieu of the number plates contracted on behalf of the counties by the director of finance of the city and county of Honolulu, the director of finance shall provide, for a fee, one set of special number plates upon the receipt of an application together with:
(1) Specific proof that the applicant was awarded the Purple Heart by the United States Department of Defense for wounds received in military or naval combat against an armed enemy of the United States;
(2) Certification that the applicant is a veteran;
(3) Specific proof that the applicant was serving the United States in the military or as a civilian, on Oahu, or offshore at a distance of not more than three miles at the time of the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Certification from the Hawaii state chairperson of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association shall constitute sufficient proof;
(4) Specific proof that the applicant was confined as a prisoner of war while providing military service to the United States;
(5) Certification from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or the state office of military affairs and veterans' services that the applicant is a combat veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam conflict, the Korean conflict, World War II, or the Persian Gulf conflict; or
(6) Specific proof that the applicant would qualify for a gold star lapel button under the criteria established by title 10 United States Code section 1126; provided that the applicant shall not be disqualified for the special number plates because the applicant is the grandparent of the deceased member of the United States armed forces;
provided that applicants, except civilian applicants under paragraph (3) and civilian applicants and applicants who are currently serving the United States in the military under paragraph (6), shall also provide a copy of the applicant's most recent discharge paper or separation document that indicates an honorable discharge or general (under honorable conditions) discharge from active duty."
VETERANS] RIGHTS AND BENEFITS OF VETERANS AND
SECTION 5. Section 363-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:
1. By adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read:
""Service member" has the same meaning as in section 88-131."
2. By amending the definitions of "director" and "office" to read:
""Director" means the director of the office of military affairs and veterans' services.
"Office" means the office of military affairs and veterans' services as constituted under this chapter."
SECTION 6. Section 363-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§363-2 Office of military affairs and veterans' services; director. (a) The office of military affairs and veterans' services shall be responsible for the conduct or supervision of all activities provided for by this chapter and for the formulation and adoption of all policies and rules for the administration of this chapter and is established in the department of defense for administrative purposes.
(b) The head of the office shall be known as the director of the office of military affairs and veterans' services. The director shall be nominated and appointed by the governor without regard to chapters 76 and 89. Effective July 1, 2005, the director shall be paid a salary set by the appointing authority that shall not exceed sixty-nine per cent of the salary of the director of human resources development. The director shall be included in any benefit program generally applicable to the officers and employees of the State.
(c) The director shall have the following principal functions, duties, and powers:
(1) Serve as the principal official in state government responsible for the performance, development, and control of programs, policies, and activities under this chapter;
(2) Oversee, supervise, and direct the performance by
the director's subordinates of activities in such areas as planning,
evaluation, and coordination of [
veterans] programs pertaining to
service members and veterans and development of a statewide service
(3) Assess the policies and practices of other agencies with respect to delivery of services and benefits to service members and veterans;
(4) Administer funds allocated for the office, and
apply for, receive, and disburse grants and donations from all sources for [
programs for service members and veterans and services provided under
(5) Establish a clearinghouse for complaints of persons regarding services to service members and veterans, or operations of state and county agencies affecting service members and veterans, investigate such complaints, and refer the complaints and the director's findings to the appropriate agency for corrective action;
(6) Adopt, amend, and repeal rules pursuant to chapter 91 for the purposes of this chapter;
(7) Employ and retain such staff as may be necessary for the purposes of this chapter, in conformance with chapters 76, 89, and the appropriate collective bargaining agreements, executive orders, executive directives, or rules, except for the position of coordinator and executive secretary to the director, who shall be hired without regard to chapters 76 and 89;
(8) Contract for or grant such services as may be necessary for the purposes of this chapter, including a master contract with other state agencies receiving federal and state funds for programs and services for service members and veterans, and purchase of service agreements with appropriate agencies;
(9) Oversee the development, establishment, and operation of a state veterans cemetery on Oahu; develop and administer the policies and procedures of the state veterans cemetery in accordance with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and existing state guidelines; and oversee the maintenance of state veterans cemeteries on all islands; and
(10) Act on behalf of deceased veterans found to be indigent at the time of death and without surviving immediate family members to ensure burial or cremation services are provided and that the veteran's remains are buried or inurned in a state veterans cemetery."
SECTION 7. 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 to which service members
and veterans, including their families and dependents, may come for
information, counsel, aid, and assistance, 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
,] but are not limited to[ ,] departments and divisions of
the federal and state governments, veterans' organizations, military
organizations, and so-called "private" social 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 service members and veterans, including their families and dependents, to the end that maximum effectiveness of the services 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 to which service members and 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 service members or veterans, including their families and dependents;
(5) As soon as possible after the close of each
fiscal year, compile and submit to the governor, for such use or distribution
as 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; [
(6) 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[
(7) Interact and work with the armed services in the State to address any issues and concerns impacting the State and residents;
(8) Collect and maintain information pertaining to the military's economic impact in the State;
(9) Serve as a liaison between the State's executive branch and the armed services in the State; and
(10) Research federal funding opportunities that relate to the military and veterans to provide grants or financial assistance to the State."
SECTION 8. Section 363-3.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) There shall be a policy advisory board on veterans' services
within the office [
of veterans' services]. The board shall consist of
nine members appointed by the governor as provided in section 26-34. Five
members shall be veterans, and there shall be at least one member residing in
each of the counties of Maui and Kauai. The county of Hawaii shall be represented
by two members, one member shall reside in east Hawaii and one member shall
reside in west Hawaii. Four members shall reside in the city and county of
Honolulu. At least three members shall be women. The director of health, the
director of human services, the director of labor and industrial relations, and
the adjutant general shall serve as ex officio[ ,[ ]] nonvoting
members. The director for the office [ of veterans' services] shall
serve as an ex officio[ ,[ ]] voting member. The chairperson of
the board shall be elected by the majority of the board. The members shall
serve without compensation but shall be allowed their actual and necessary
expenses incurred in the performance of their duties."
SECTION 9. Section 363-5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:
1. By amending its title to read:
"§363-5 Councils' responsibility; burial of service members, veterans, and dependents; office of military affairs and veterans' services approval."
2. By amending subsection (c) to read:
"(c) Prior to any county action that may:
(1) Have an adverse financial impact upon the State's fiscal obligation to establish and maintain veterans cemeteries; or
(2) Impair or conflict with federal requirements that are a prescribed condition for the allocation of federal funds,
the county shall obtain approval
of the action from the office [
of veterans' services]. In the event of
any disagreement between any county and the office [ of veterans' services]
over whether this subsection applies, the decision of the office [ of
veterans' services] shall control."
SECTION 10. Section 363-12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Disbursement of World War II Filipino-American veterans burial grant funds. (a)
The office [ of veterans' services], at the request of a deceased World
War II Filipino-American veteran's survivor or an interested party, shall make
payment, under the veterans burial grant program, directly to a licensed
provider of mortuary or crematory services in the State for the cost of:
(1) Providing funeral and burial services for a deceased World War II Filipino-American veteran; and
(2) Transporting the remains of a deceased World War II Filipino-American veteran to the Philippines.
(b) The maximum amount that may be disbursed on behalf of a deceased World War II Filipino-American veteran under this section is $2,500.
The office [
of veterans' services] shall not expend more than the amount
appropriated for the fiscal year to provide burial grants for deceased World
War II Filipino-American veterans.
The office [
of veterans' services] shall establish specific eligibility
criteria, application and appeal procedures, service choices, and invoicing
arrangements. Eligibility shall include the requirement that a World War II
Filipino-American veteran was, at the time of death, a resident of the State,
as evidenced by valid documentation of state residence, a State of Hawaii
driver's license, or a State of Hawaii identification card.
Payment shall be made by the office [
of veterans' services] upon the
submission of a contract for services on behalf of the deceased World War II
Filipino-American veteran and an itemized unpaid invoice to the office.
(f) For the purposes of this section, "World War II Filipino-American veteran" means any Filipino-American veteran, who is now a citizen of the United States, who served honorably in an active duty status in any of the armed services of the United States between September 1, 1939, and December 31, 1946."
SECTION 11. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2015-2016 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 to expand the office of veterans' services to include military affairs.
The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of defense for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 12. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 13. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
Office of Military Affairs and Veterans' Services; Appropriation
Expands the office of veterans' services to include military affairs and establishes additional duties of the office; and appropriates funds. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD2)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.