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NGAI Alert #2; 25 January 2016

Dear NGAI Member,
2016 NGAI Public Policy Objectives
HB1313 Hoosier Veteran Talking Points
1. Federal Law does not include Members of the National Guard or Reserve in the definition of “veteran”
2. Indiana Law refers to the Federal definition when addressing veteran issues
3. The National Guard Association of Indiana is seeking a change in the State definition to recognize our Hoosier Veterans.
4. HB 1313, authored by Rep. Peggy Mayfield, includes our Hoosier Veterans wherever the term “Veteran” is used, but specifies that Hoosier Veterans are not included where it does not fit into that particular part of the code or benefits that are not intended to impact Hoosier Veterans:
• Hoosier Veterans still will not qualify for any federal benefit managed by the State
• Hoosier Veterans are already included in such benefits as the Military Family Relief Fund, but still will be limited to only if they served during a conflict and were injured in combat.
• Several Legislators have raised concerns that the definition of “Hoosier Veteran” may still be too broad, so NGAI is working on narrowing the definition and specifying that the bill will not create any new fiduciary duty of currently existing benefits.

Our big push for next week will be to get a hearing for the NGAI Hoosier Veteran Bill. Tuesday will be the last hearing for the House Veteran Affairs and Public Safety Committee for the first half of session, so if we can’t move HB 1313 out of committee, the bill is dead.
Chairman Randy Frye plans on putting it on the schedule, but he will remove it Monday if we don’t have the support of the veteran members of the committee. One major concern of the veteran members is that they believe that we should narrow the bill down and that we don’t create bigger liabilities for current programs.

We are working on fine-tuning the language now, and will get it to the committee members Saturday (1/23/16).
We will need our Guardsmen and leadership that live in, or have connections in, the districts of the members of the committee to make their voices heard.

Committee members are:
Rep Randy Frye, Greensburg (Ready to hear the Bill, but wants to see a consensus of the veteran House members on his committee)
Rep Bruce Borders, Jasonville
Rep Lloyd Arnold, Huntingburg … KEY VOTE!
Rep Martin Carbaugh, Fort Wayne
Rep Doug Gutwein, Franceville
Rep Chris Judy, Columbia City (Guardsman)
Rep John Price, Greenwood
Rep Ed Soliday, Valporaiso … KEY VOTE!
Rep Denny Zent, Angola
Rep Karlee Macer, Indianapolis
Rep Shiela Klinker, Lafayette
Rep Linda Lawson, Hammond
Rep Charles Moseley, Portage
Call or e-mail these committee members and encourage them to make sure National Guard and Reserve members are included as veterans.

Thanks to all for your support.
Mike Sturm
Executive Director
National Guard Association of Indiana