NGAI Alert #17-2: 2017 NGAI Legislative Report

The NGAI legislative efforts in the Indiana General Assembly culminated with a call to action to support the Governor’s retired military pay tax exemption and to restore/increase the active military pay deduction…by the end of session, the current $5000 deduction was restored and a new $6250 deduction was created for retired pay. Although total exemptions did not pass, this session was still one of the biggest ever for Hoosier Veterans and set the stage for more substantial wins in the next General Assembly (100% exemption for Guard income and retirement.) We are already laying the groundwork for the next legislative session and will begin the process of engaging all of our Guardsmen to be ready for our next battle. Our members answered the call and made a difference this year; A total exemption will require a MASSIVE grassroots effort, so encourage your fellow Guardsmen now to be active in NGAI!

Last year, NGAI succeeded in their efforts to pass legislation that incorporated “Hoosier Veterans” in the definition of “Veteran,” in the Indiana Code, insuring that our National Guard and Reserve members were included in the recognition and benefits bestowed upon those who have served. The term, “Hoosier Veteran” also includes all Guardsmen that have completed their specialty training to reward and incentivize those in the National Guard who are on call 24/7 for both for military service abroad and aiding in emergencies at home.

BY ENGAGING THE NGAI MEMBERSHIP, WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE DIFFERENCE FOR GUARDSMEN:

  • Giving priority to our Guardsmen, both present and future, in State hiring and training opportunities;
  • Creating a formal link between the Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Veteran Affairs to coordinate and expand high-value job and training opportunities for Hoosier Veterans;
  • Establishing statutory mandates to expedite professional licenses for Guardsmen and their spouses (including teacher’s licenses in a separate bill);
  • Building educational support for new enlistees seeking their GED’s;
  • Codifying the assurance that Guardsmen who work for the State will not lose seniority and income when activated;
  • Increasing State financial support for Veteran Service Organizations and Veteran Service Officers;
  • Adding 6 new Regional Veteran Service Officers to increase support for Hoosier Veterans in need;
  • Saving the $5000 tax deduction for military pay; and creating a $6250 tax deduction for military retirement pay, in addition to eliminating the minimum age requirement of 60.

TELL YOUR FELLOW GUARDSMAN TO BE ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE NGAI!

Below is the NGAI “tracking list” from this recently past legislative session; there are links included, if you are interested in reading more about issues impacting our Guardsmen. Visit the NGAI website for more details on all of our legislative successes and initiatives for next year.

HB1001 STATE BIENNIAL BUDGET (BROWN T) Appropriates money for capital expenditures and for the operation of the state. The current military pay deduction was “inadvertently” omitted from one version and then reduced in another; NGAI worked to restore the deduction. NGAI also pushed for the exemption of ALL retired military pay from State taxation in this bill, which resulted in a separate $6250 deduction. (NGAI objective is to eventually exempt ALL military pay from taxation.) The budget also contains funding for veteran service organizations, which was supported by NGAI.  State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1001

HB1007 EDUCATION COURSE ACCESS PROGRAM (COOK A) Allows the department of education (department) to authorize course providers to offer course access program courses that provide for the delivery of instruction through any method, including online technologies, in the course access program (program). Allows the state board of education to adopt emergency and nonemergency rules. This bill includes provisions for enlisted members of the Indiana National Guard.  State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1007

HB1308 VARIOUS PROFESSIONAL LICENSING MATTERS (ZENT D) Requires the boards under the authority of the agency to expedite the issuance or renewal of licenses,

certificates, registrations, or permits to military spouses. (Current law requires the boards to adopt rules to expedite the issuance or renewal of licenses, certificates, registrations, or permits to military spouses.)   State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1308

HB1324 ACTIVATION OF STATE EMPLOYEES (FORESTAL D) Provides that a state employee who is a member of the Indiana National Guard or a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States is entitled to: (1) a leave of absence without loss of time while on active duty; and (2) compensation in an amount that is equal to the difference between the member’s active duty military pay and the salary the member would have received if the member was not called to active duty.  State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1324

HB1396 TEACHER LICENSING FOR MILITARY SPOUSES (MCNAMARA W) Requires the state board of education to adopt rules, including emergency rules, that establish procedures to expedite the issuance, renewal, or reinstatement of a teacher license to a military spouse whose husband or wife is assigned to a duty station in Indiana. (Current law allows, but does not require, the state board to adopt such rules.)  State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1396

SB307 VETERAN PREFERENCE FOR EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING (HERSHMAN B) Requires the department of workforce development (department) to give a veteran or the spouse of a veteran priority for placement in any federal or state employment or training program administered by the department. Note: this Bill includes all Guardsmen with 100 days of continuous active duty. State Bill Page: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/307

NGAI Alert#17-1; Governor’s Military Tax Reform; 8 April 2017

GOVERNOR HOLCOMB’S MILITARY TAX PROPOSAL:

Governor Eric Holcomb has proposed making military pensions fully exempted from state taxation. We as the National Guard Association of Indiana (NGAI) believe this is an important policy to take Indiana to the next level for many reasons; not the least of which are:

  • It is important to encourage retired veterans to set their roots in Indiana where they can grow their lives and families for years to come.
  • Attracting and keeping retired veterans in the state has an important economic impact in terms of growing Indiana’s workforce with talented individuals who value their communities and will contribute on many levels.
  • Indiana is lagging behind our neighbors in incentivizing veterans and retirees to return home or choose Indiana to relocate. Three of our surrounding states have complete exemption of all military income from state taxation:
    • Michigan
    • Ohio
    • Illinois
  • Kentucky has (1) a full exemption for those that retired before 1997 or (2) an exemption up to $41,110 in annual income.

Governor Holcomb said it best in his State of the State when he said exempting veteran’s pensions from state income tax, “will make it easier for them (veterans) to stay here and attract other patriots to our great state in their post-military careers.”

We strongly encourage the Indiana General Assembly to join many other states across the country and adopt this policy.

FROM OUR STATEHOUSE ADVOCATE, CHARLIE HILTUNEN:

I think we need to emphasize the Governor’s initiative as an important tool to boost the Indiana economy by activating an incredible, but under-utilized economic force – Our Hoosier Veterans.  Most important, the Governor is giving veterans a seat at the table during the most critical time of the legislative process – the Budget Conference Committee. This opportunity can be leveraged to boost our other initiatives – support for our Veteran Service Organizations, Veteran Service Officers and other essential veteran services.

The Governor has given us a GREAT opportunity to be at the table, BUT we need to engage EVERY veteran to back the Governor’s efforts to give us the leverage he (we) needs. The Legislature has already denied him once; they won’t be able to do it again if every legislator hears from their veterans.

EVERY Hoosier veteran needs to call, write or email their legislator and encourage them to commit to support this issue. Use the message below, or send your own personal message.

Representative or Senator (click to find your state legislators),

I fully support Governor Holcomb’s military, veterans and retiree initiatives, and ask you to do the same. I’m requesting your urgent strong support by doing the following:

1. Urge your representative on the Budget Conference Committee to support the Governor’s retired military pay state income tax exemption initiative

2. To grow the Indiana Economy, while fully supporting the efforts of the Veteran Service Organizations and their mission in support of Veterans; and

3. Provide the critical infrastructure needed by our Veteran Service Officers in every county.

With the utmost respect,

Signed (your name)

Ask them to report back to you on the success of their efforts.

Thank you for your support in this critical matter.

Mike Sturm
Executive Director

NGAI Alert; 11 July 2015

Dear NGAI Members,
The deadline for the NGAUS summer conference is quickly approaching. Reservations and registrations should be done as soon as possible!

chairhighresNGAUS Nashville 2015
(Gaylord Hotel reservation deadline 30 July)
September 9-13
Room reservation and registration: www.ngai.net/2015-ngaus-registration/
• Wednesday Sept. 9 – Sponsor’s Golf (by invitation)
• Thursday Sept. 10 – Golf or Bike Ride to Jack Daniels, NGAI TAG Welcome, TAG Reception, CGO/WO Mixer
• Friday Sept. 11 – Opening session, Governor’s Reception (Exhibit Hall)
• Saturday Sept. 12 – Day 2 business and Hospitality Night
• Sunday Sept. 13 – Final business and States Dinner, Special Opry Night (Country Western attire)

Thanks to all of you for your support.

Mike Sturm
Executive Director
National Guard Association of Indiana

NGAI Alert #15-3; 23 June 2015

Dear NGAI Member,
Please see the NGAUS alerts linked below on three very important issues. Please take a few minutes to read the alerts and then take action by clicking on each link. While NGAUS and EANGUS are doing a great job communicating our guard story, our Representatives need to hear it from you:

NGAUS Legislative Alert #15-9
The Issue: Support House NDAA FY16 language securing Veterans’ Status for members of the Guard and Reserve

Immediate Action Required: Contact your representatives and senators immediately to support the language in the House National Defense Authorization Act for FY16 that provides veterans’ status to members of the National Guard and Reserve.

read more

NGAUS Legislative Alert #15-10
The Issue: Prevent the reduction in Army National Guard end strength and halt the transfer of AH-64s from the National Guard in FY2016

Immediate Action Required: Ask your representatives to sign onto a letter encouraging the leaders of the House defense committees to prevent potentially damaging and irreversible cuts to the Army National Guard.

read more

NGAUS Legislative Alert #15-11
The Issue: Modernize the Guard’s Black Hawk fleet.

Immediate Action Required: Ask your Senators and Representatives to support the House Armed Services and House Appropriations versions of the FY16 defense bills which authorize and appropriate $138.8M for 8 additional UH-60M helicopters for the Army National Guard.

read more

16th Annual Car Show
The weather looks promising for our Car Show this Saturday at the Indiana War Memorial, so bring the family out and enjoy the day. There will be prizes, music, food and some very classy things on wheels. Or, better yet, get your classic out of storage and enter it in the competition. All proceeds benefit the Education Grant Fund, https://www.ngai.net/car-show

EANGUS and NGAUS Conference registration
Don’t forget that registration is open for EANGUS Indy and NGAUS Nashville, TN. For information and registration, visit the www.NGAI.net home page which has links to both conferences.

Thanks,.
Mike Sturm
Executive Director
National Guard Association of Indiana