NGAI Alert#16-2; Hoosier Veteran; 23 January 2016

NGAI Members & Friends,

We are one step closer to recognition of thousands of current and former Indiana National Guard members and retirees as “Hoosier Veterans.” Representative Peggy Mayfield’s efforts have been most admirable in shepherding HB 1313 through the legislative minefield of the Indiana General Assembly.

Representative Randy Frye threw his full support behind the bill as Chairman of the House Public Safety and Veteran Affairs Committee and HB 1313 cleared the full House on 1 February by a 94-0 vote.

This morning, Senator Jim Banks, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and The Military, held the first reading of HB 1313. Representative Mayfield introduced her bill, then Senator Banks called for testimony. NGAI led the effort with representation by the Executive Director, Third House Advocacy and NGAI Retired Directors BG (Ret) Marge Washburn and Brig Gen (Ret) Jim Wilson to testify. The Senators on the Committee were amazed by the combined service history of the generals, yet lack of veteran recognition.

Other Veteran Service Organizations also testified on behalf of Hoosier Veterans to include The Military Veterans Coalition of Indiana, MOAA, AMVETS, DAV and the American Legion.

Senator Banks then called the Roll Call, with a 9-0 vote.

CALL TO ACTION
While the progress is positive, the battle is never over until the ink dries and Governor Pence signs the legislation. Please call or email your State Senators and thank them for their support for our military and veterans! Then ask them to specifically vote yes on HB 1313, Hoosier Veteran!

The second reading will be Thursday 25 February, with the third reading and final vote on Monday, 29 February.

If you do not have your senator’s contact information, use the link “Find your legislators” from www.NGAI.net/legislative-issues/ or http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/ .

Thank you for your continued support!

Mike Sturm
Executive Director
National Guard Association of Indiana

NGAUS Legislative Alert #16-3; 22 February 2016

February 22, 2016

The Issue: Extended TRICARE Program Coverage for Certain Members of the National Guard and Dependents during Certain Disaster Response Duty.

Immediate Action Required: Contact your representatives immediately and ask them to support H.R. 4554, a bill sponsored by Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Washington.

NGAUS strongly supports H.R. 4554, a bill that would provide states the authority to extend health care coverage for National Guard members and their families when the member is temporarily ordered into State Active Duty to assist with a natural disaster or emergency, in specific instances.

Since 2010, hundreds of National Guard members have begun serving on full-time federal duty status as part of the Department of Defense’s Homeland Response Force (HRF). These units provide our nation with rapid response capabilities in the event of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive incidents. Given their full-time federal status, these members and their families are eligible for federal health benefits.

HRF units are also used to respond to state and local emergencies at state expense and under control of the governor. However, for these Guard members to assist in a state emergency, they must be taken off full-time Federal duty status and placed temporarily into State active duty status, causing a break in TRICARE benefits for them and their families. While states reimburse the Department of Defense for resources used to activate HRF units for state emergencies, current law prevents them from paying to extend health coverage for these Guard members during these short periods of time.

In state emergencies, this means governors and military commanders are forced to choose between not using well-trained HRF personnel or disrupting health care coverage for these Guard members and their families.

This bill provides states the authority to extend health care coverage to members of the National Guard during state active duty status emergencies and requires them to reimburse DoD for health coverage for the period they are off federal duty.

Please contact your representatives and urge them to support this bill.

TAKE THE FOLLOWING ACTION:

By using the Write to Congress feature on the NGAUS website at www.ngaus.org, you can IMMEDIATELY email your elected representatives. A sample letter is included in Write to Congress. You can email the prewritten message or edit the sample letter as you desire. This is the quickest and most effective method of expressing your views to Congress. Also, contact your friends and family members and urge them to use Write to Congress as well. For further information and background visit our website at www.ngaus.org. Please direct any questions concerning this issue to Grace Washbourne, NGAUS legislative program manager for joint programs, at 202-408-5893 or via email at grace.washbourne@ngaus.org.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/x4vvDOt8YYUYa-8M1XGUzg

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NGAUS Legislative Alert #16-2; 2 February 2016

The Issue: The legislation seeks to increase rural participation in the National Guard and Reserves by reforming an arbitrary $300 reimbursement cap for members traveling to training exercises and activities.

Immediate Action Required: Contact your representatives immediately and ask them to support H.R. 4424, the Rural Guard Act of 2016, a bill sponsored by Rep. Don Young, D-Alaska.

More Information: NGAUS strongly supports H.R. 4424, the Rural Guard Act of 2016, amending Title 37, United States Code, to increase the maximum reimbursement amount authorized for travel expenses incurred by certain members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve to attend inactive duty training outside of normal commuting distances.

Specifically, the Rural Guard Act of 2016 modifies existing law by removing a $300 reimbursement cap, on a case by case basis, if the National Guard or Reserve member:

1) lives in the state in which the training occurs,
2) lives in a rural area, and
3) travels to Guard or Reserve training using a boat or aircraft due to limited or nonexistent vehicular routes, or from a permanent residence located more than 75 miles from the training location.

The bi-partisan bill is also co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI), Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS), Rep. Richard Nugent (R-FL), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE), and Rep. Thomas Rooney(R-FL).

Please contact your representatives and urge them to support this bill.

NGAUS Point of Contact:
Grace Washbourne
Legislative Program Manager, Joint Programs
202-408-5893
grace.washbourne@ngaus.org

Take Action: Click here