Wednesday, June 13, 2012

St. Reps. Dovilla and Landis Announce Passage of Legislation to Reform Veterans Services

COLUMBUS— State Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) and State Representative Al Landis (R-Dover) today announced the passage of House Bill 490, legislation that will improve the state’s veteran services.

House Bill 490 enables county veteran service officers (CVSOs) to be certified and trained to immediately access to discharge forms (DD-214s), which are required for veterans to receive veteran benefits and medical services. Without CVSO access to these forms, it can take up to 280 days for them to be replaced by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.

“It is our solemn obligation to ensure our veterans have ready access to the medical and educational benefits they have earned,” said Rep. Dovilla. “Our legislation underscores the state’s commitment to providing peace of mind to Ohio’s military families.”

In addition, House Bill 490 fulfills the Ohio GI Promise. The spouse or dependents of a veteran who is deceased, regardless of the location of the death, will be eligible for in-state tuition if they are living in Ohio on the first day of their enrollment.

“We have a responsibility to guarantee state and county agencies are able to serve Ohio’s veterans in efficient and effective manner,” said Rep. Landis. “I am confident H.B 490 will serve our current and future military members and their families and will fulfill our commitment to them.”

Additionally, this legislation will change the composition of the Department of Public Safety’s Veteran Advisory Committee. H.B. 490 adds a member of the National Guard Association of the United States. This addition ensures Ohio National Guardsmen and women are represented in the committee.

While under consideration, the Ohio Senate amended House Bill 405, sponsored by Representative Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), into House Bill 490. House Bill 405 updates the Ohio Uniform Code of Military Justice and makes other related changes to the state’s veterans statutes.

House Bill 490 unanimously passed in the House and will now be sent to the Governor’s office.