STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3551
RE: H.B. No. 2489
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Eighth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2016
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 2489 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds for the establishment of a veterans service counselor IV position within the State Office of Veterans' Services to assist all veterans, with a primary focus on female veterans.
Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the State Office of Veterans' Services, Hawaii State Democratic Women's Caucus, LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, The Sex Abuse Treatment Center, and one individual.
Your Committee finds that women have served in the armed services throughout the nation's history. Currently, women constitute approximately fifteen per cent of the United States Armed Forces. Women are expected to exceed ten per cent of the total veteran population by the year 2020.
Your Committee also finds that female veterans have certain service needs that are separate from their male counterparts. However, veterans' benefits services are often designed to address the needs of male veterans rather than those of female veterans. Your Committee believes that a new counselor position within the State Office of Veterans' Services that primarily focuses on assisting female veterans will help address the unique needs of female veterans.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Replacing its contents with the contents of Senate Bill No. 3113, S.D. 1, part I of which is substantially similar to this bill, and part II of which includes an appropriation for military and veterans commemoration events; and
(2) Changing the effective date to July 1, 2076, to facilitate further discussion on the measure.
Your Committee notes that various proposals are being considered this session that would provide funding for different military and veteran commemoration events, such as anniversary events for the Vietnam War and Pearl Harbor attack. There is also a $437,000 grant request being considered by the Legislature. Your Committee believes it is important that funding for these events continues to be considered, whether through the budget, a grant, or a separate bill. Accordingly, your Committee respectfully requests that the Administration indicate its preference for a funding mechanism for these events.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2489, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2489, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,
JILL N. TOKUDA, Chair