Arizona Democratic Veterans and Military Families Caucus http://azdemvet.com We are a group of veterans and military family members that are well in tuned with the needs of veterans in the state of Arizona. Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:54:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.8 ADVS State Veterans/Military Legislation Update – 52nd Arizona Legislature, First Regular Session http://azdemvet.com/2015/03/20/advs-state-veteransmilitary-legislation-update-52nd-arizona-legislature-first-regular-session/ http://azdemvet.com/2015/03/20/advs-state-veteransmilitary-legislation-update-52nd-arizona-legislature-first-regular-session/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:54:59 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=1050 ADVS State Veterans/Military Legislation Update
52nd Arizona Legislature, First Regular Session

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Inclusion of any legislation in this report does not constitute endorsement of that legislation by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services.    (Notation in Bold represents new information or final action.)

SB = Senate Bill                                                              HB = House Bill

SCM = Senate Concurrent Memorial                        HCM = House Concurrent Memorial

SCR = Senate Concurrent Resolution                       HCR = House Concurrent Resolution

SR = Senate Resolution                                                HJR= House Joint Resolution

HR = House Resolution

Senate Bills

SB 1060- technical correction; counties; powers NOW: military retirees; pension exclusion amount (Primary Sponsor: Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Dist. 14)

Strike Everything amendment adopted that would increase, from $2,500 to $3,000, the amount of military retired pay that can be subtracted in calculating gross income for State income tax purposes.

Major Actions
17 Feb 2015:
“Strike Everything” amendment adopted in Senate Appropriations Committee 8-0.   4 March 2015: Given a Do Pass Amended recommendation in House Committee of the Whole (COW).   5 March 2015: Passed Senate 28-1-1 not voting and transmitted to the House.   9 March 2015: First Read in House and assigned to the House Appropriations Committee and House Rules Committee.

SB 1296- spousal maintenance; veteran’s disability benefits (Primary Sponsor: Sen. Steve Smith, R-Dist. 11)

Clarifies the term “requesting party” in the statute so that a veteran receiving disability who is seeking spousal maintenance will not have their disability payments considered by the judge in determining the amount of spousal maintenance awarded to that veteran.

Major Actions
11 Feb 2015
: First Read and assigned to Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee, and Senate Rules Committee.   18 Feb 2015: Smith amendment adopted in Senate PSMT Committee and given a Do Pass Amended” recommendation 6-0.   5 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate Committee of the Whole.  6 March 2015: Passed Senate 24-4-2 not voting and transmitted to the House.   12 March 2015: First Read in House and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and House Rules Committee.   19 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) 7-0-2 not voting.

SB 1422- G&F; veterans; bonus point (Primary Sponsor: Sen. Barbara McGuire, D-Dist. 8)

Requires the Arizona Game and Fish Department to award veterans a bonus point entry in drawings for hunt permit-tags.

Major Actions
3 Feb 2015:
First read and assigned to Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee, Senate Natural Resources Committee, and Senate Rules Committee.   11 Feb 2015: Technical amendment adopted and given a “Do Pass Amended” recommendation in Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee 5-0-1 not voting.   16 Feb 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate Natural Resources Committee 6-0-1 not voting.         5 March 2015: Given a Do Pass Amended recommendation in Senate Committee of the Whole.   9 March 2015: Passed Senate 26-3-1 not voting and transmitted to the House.   16 March 2015: First Read in House and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety (MAPS) Committee and House Rules Committee.

SCM 1008- disability rating process; veterans (Primary Sponsor: Sen. Steve Smith, R-Dist. 11; Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5)

A concurrent memorial urging the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs to review the disability rating process for veterans.

Major Actions
26 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology Committee and Senate Rules Committee.   28 Jan 2015: Given a “Do Pass” recommendation in Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology Committee 6-0.   3 Feb 2015: Out of Rules.   9 Feb 2015: Passed Senate 29 – 0 -1 not voting and transmitted to the House.   18 Feb 2015: First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety (MAPS) Committee and House Rules Committee.   26 Feb 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in House MAPS Committee 9-0.   17 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in House COW.   19 March 2015: Passed House 55-0-5 not voting and returned to the Senate.

SCM 1009- military bases; endangered species act (Primary Sponsor: Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Dist. 14, et al.)

A concurrent memorial urging the U. S. Congress to enact legislation exempting U.S. military bases from the regulations and restrictions of the Endangered Species Act.

Major Actions
26 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to Senate Federalism, Mandates and Fiscal Responsibility Committee and Senate Rules Committee.   3 Feb 2015: Given a “Do Pass” recommendation in Senate Federalism, Mandates and Fiscal Responsibility Committee, 4-1-2 not voting.   16 Feb 2015: Passed Senate 18-11-1 not voting and transmitted to the House.   24 Feb 2015: First Read in House and assigned to the House Federalism and State’s Rights Committee and House Rules Committee.   4 March 2015: Given Do Pass recommendation in House Federalism and State’s Rights Committee 5-3.   18 March 2015: Passed House 34-23-3 not voting and returned to the Senate.

SCR 1014- military bases; expressing support (Primary Sponsor: Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Dist. 14, et al.)

A concurrent resolution expressing the Legislature’s support for the military facilities located in Arizona.

Major Actions
3 Feb 2015
: First Read and assigned to Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology Committee and Senate Rules Committee.   11 Feb 2015: Given a “Do Pass” recommendation in Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee 4-0-2 not voting.   16 Feb 2015: Out of Senate Rules Committee.   19 Feb 2015: Passed Senate 29-0-1 not voting and transmitted to the House.   24 Feb 2015: First Read in House and assigned to the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and House Rules Committee.   5 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in House MAPS Committee 9-0.   16 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in House COW.   17 March 2015: Passed House 58-0-2 not voting and returned to the Senate.   18 March 2015: Transmitted to Secretary of State.  ACTION COMPLETED.

 

House Bills

HB 2090- military family relief fund; amount (Primary Sponsors: Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5; Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Dist. 19)

Would allow the Military Family Relief Fund committee to award up to $20,000 per qualified family up from $10,000.

Major Actions
15 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and House Rules Committee.    22 Jan 2015: Given a “Do Pass” recommendation in House MAPS Committee, 9-0.   29 Jan 2015: Passed House 58-0-2 not voting and transmitted to the Senate.   25 Feb 2015: First Read and assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee, and Senate Rules.             4 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate PSMT Committee 6-0.   10 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate Appropriations Committee 8-0.

HB 2091- veterans; in-state tuition (Primary Sponsor: Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5; et al.)

To amend A.R.S. 15-1802 to comply with provisions of the federal Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (“Choice Act”) Section 702 so veterans and their families can use GI Bill benefits at Arizona public institutions of higher learning after July 1, 2015.

Major Actions
15 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS), House Government and Higher Education Committee and House Rules Committee.   22 Jan 2015: Given a “Do Pass” recommendation in House MAPS Committee, 9-0.   5 Feb 2015: Given a “Do Pass” recommendation in House Government and Higher Education Committee, 8-0-1.   12 Feb 2015: Passed House with Emergency Clause 58-0-2 not voting and transmitted to the Senate.   25 Feb 2015: First Read and assigned to the Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee and Senate Rules.   4 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate PSMT Committee 6-0.   16 March 2015: Out of Senate Rules Committee.

HB 2092- military scholarship special plates (Primary Sponsor: Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5; et al.)

Would create a special “military scholarship” vehicle license plate with proceeds from sale of the plates going to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

Major Actions
15 Jan 2015
: First Read and assigned to House Transportation and Infrastructure and Rules Committees.   27 Jan 2015: Given a “Do Pass” recommendation in House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee 9-0.   9 February 2015: Passed House 52-7-1 not voting and transmitted to the Senate.   17 Feb 2015: First Read in Senate and assigned to Senate Transportation Committee and Senate Rules Committee.   10 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate Transportation Committee 3-2-2 not voting.   16 March 2015: Out of Senate Rules Committee.

HB 2094- mobile home parks; tree maintenance NOW: voluntary veterans’ preference employment policy (Primary Sponsor: Rep. Doug Coleman, R-Dist. 16; Strike Everything amendment from Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Dist. 20.)

Yee Strike Everything amendment adopted that would allow a private employer to adopt a voluntary veterans’ preference employment policy, provided that the policy is kept in writing and applied uniformly to employment decisions.

Major Actions
18 March 2015:
Yee Strike Everything amendment adopted in Senate Commerce and Workforce Development Committee changing this into bill on voluntary veterans’ preference employment policy.

HB 2103- military affairs commission; membership; confidentiality (Primary Sponsor: Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5.)

Would increase the number of people serving on the Military Affairs Commission from 13 to 16 and requiring that 12 members reside in a community in which a military installation is located, up from 10; 6 members shall have expertise in military affairs, up from 5; and 6 members shall be elected officials, up from 5. Other like changes.  Would also make commission discussions on base closures exempt from public meeting law and commission strategies on keeping bases open in Arizona confidential.

Major Actions
15 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS), and Rules Committees.   19 Feb 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in House MAPS Committee 8-0-1 absent.   26 Feb 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in House COW.   3 March 2015: Passed House 60-0 and transmitted to the Senate.          4 March 2015: First Read and assigned to the Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Rules Committee.   11 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate PSMT Committee 5-0-1 not voting.   17 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate Appropriations Committee 6-0-2 not voting.

HB 2106- emergency and military affairs; continuation (Primary Sponsor: Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5; et al.)

Would extend the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs and the State Emergency Council until July 1, 2023.

Major Actions
15 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS), and Rules Committees.   19 Feb 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in House MAPS Committee 9-0. 23 Feb 2015-Rules.       25 Feb 2015: Passed House 59-0-1 not voting and transmitted to the Senate. First Read in Senate and assigned to Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee and Senate Rules.   11 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate PSMT Committee 5-0-1 not voting.   16 March 2015: Out of Senate Rules Committee.

HB 2165- unlawful sexual conduct; peace officers NOW: veteran education; fund; advisory committee (Primary Sponsor: Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5; et al.)

Strike Everything amendment adopted in House MAPS Committee would create a $1-million tax credit to fund a Post 9/11 Veteran Education Relief Fund and a committee appointed by Governor to oversee fund.

Major Actions
12 Feb 2015
– First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS), and Rules Committee.   19 Feb 2015: Strike Everything amendment in House MAPS adopted changing intent of bill as above.  Given a Do Pass Amended recommendation 8-1.   4 March 2015: Borrelli Floor Amendment adopted and given a Do Pass Amended recommendation in the House Committee of the Whole (COW).   9 March 2015: Passed House 56-3 and transmitted to the Senate.   10 March 2015: First Read in Senate and assigned to the Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senate Rules Committee.   18 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate PSMT Committee 6-0.

HB 2240- national guard members; tuition waivers (Primary Sponsor: Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Dist. 19)

Would provide tuition waivers up to 16 credits per semester for members of the Arizona National Guard to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree at a state public institution of higher learning if the member meets certain conditions outlined in the bill. Beneficiary must be resident of Arizona, have Home of Record as Arizona or entered Active Duty from Arizona AND not be eligible for GI Bill educational benefits. (Kern Amendment)

Major Actions
29 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS), House Appropriations Committee, and Rules Committee.   5 Feb 2015: Kern Amendment adopted clarifying that beneficiary must be resident of Arizona, have Home of Record as Arizona or entered Active Duty from Arizona AND not be eligible for GI Bill educational benefits. Given a “Do Pass Amended” recommendation in the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) 9-0.   16 Feb 2015: Withdrawn from House Appropriations Committee.    25 Feb 2015: Out of House Rules Committee 7-0-2 absent.   26 Feb 2015: Given a Do Pass Amended recommendation in House COW.      3 March 2015: Passed House 60-0 and transmitted to the Senate.   9 March 2015: First Read in Senate and assigned to Senate PSMT Committee, Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senate Rules Committee.   18 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate PSMT Committee 6-0.

HB 2274- emergency and military affairs omnibus (Original Sponsors: Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5; Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Dist. 19)

Makes a number of technical corrections in various statutes regarding the Department of Military and Emergency Affairs. As amended by the Committee on Military Affairs and Public Safety, HB 2274 authorizes the use of Camp Navajo Fund monies to support any Arizona Army National Guard training site, rather than only the Camp Navajo Site. Additionally, current law authorizes the collection of fees for the rental and use of armories and deposits the proceeds into the National Guard Fund to pay for costs to maintain armories.

The Borrelli floor amendment to HB 2274 modifies the above funding mechanisms to allow the Adjutant General to use any National Guard facility for commercial purposes, rather than only the rental or use of armories, and deposits proceeds from these activities into the National Guard Fund for use at any Arizona National Guard facility, rather than only armories. The amendment also authorizes the use of Camp Navajo Fund monies at any Arizona National Guard facility, rather than only Arizona Army National Guard training sites as specified by HB 2274, provided that all funding obligations for the Camp Navajo site are met.

Major Actions
15 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS), and Rules Committees.   19 Feb 2015: Three page Borrelli technical amendment adopted and given a Do Pass recommendation in House MAPS Committee 9-0.   26 Feb 2015: Borrelli Floor Amendment adopted and given a Do Pass Amended recommendation in House COW.   3 March 2015: Passed House 60-0 and transmitted to the Senate.   4 March 2015: First Read in Senate and assigned to Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee and Senate Rules. 11 March 2015: Technical amendment adopted and Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate PSMT Committee 5-0-1 not voting.   17 March 2015: Given Do Pass recommendation in Senate Appropriations Committee 6-0-2 not voting.

HB 2294- courts; approved screening, treatment facilities (Original Sponsor: Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Dist. 12.)

Currently, judges may sentence certain offenders (domestic violence, drug, alcohol, etc.) to complete screening at a facility approved by the Department of Health Services. HB 2274 would expand that screening to facilities approved also by the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Major Actions
27 Jan 2015
: First Read and assigned to House Judiciary Committee and Rules Committee.   11 Feb 2015: Given a “Do Pass” recommendation in House Judiciary Committee 5-0-1 absent.   19 Feb 2015: Passed House 57-0-3 not voting and transmitted to the Senate.   23 Feb 2015: First Read in Senate and assigned to the Senate Public Safety, Military, and Technology (PSMT) Committee and Senate Rules Committee.    4 March 2015: Given a Do Pass recommendation in Senate PSMT Committee 6-0.  16 March 2015: Out of Senate Rules Committee.

HCR 2007- Fisher Houses; twenty-fifth anniversary (Primary Sponsors: Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Dist. 11, et al; Sen. Judy Burges, R-Dist. 22,
et al.)

A concurrent resolution recognizing and commending the Fisher House Foundation on its 25th anniversary.

Major Actions
29 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and Rules Committee.   29 Jan 2015: First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and Rules Committee.   4 Feb 2015: Withdrawn from House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and Rules Committee.   12 Feb 2015: Read on floor of House. Unanimously adopted by House and transmitted to the Senate.

HCR 2008- Arizona veteran’s hall of fame (Primary Sponsors: Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Dist. 5; et al.)

A concurrent resolution recognizing the Arizona Veterans’ Hall of Fame on its 15th anniversary.

Major Actions
29 Jan 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and Rules Committee.   29 Jan 2015: First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and Rules Committee.   4 Feb 2015: Withdrawn from House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS) and Rules Committee.   4 March 2015: Read on floor of House. Unanimously adopted by House and transmitted to the Senate.

HR 2001- American Legion; technology infrastructure improvement (Primary Sponsors: Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Dist. 1; et al.)

A House resolution supporting the American Legion Arizona Department’s efforts of improving the technology of the U.S. Department Veterans Affairs and asking the American Legion National Headquarters to create an automatic enrollment process for service members into the VA system at the point of separation.

Major Actions
10 Feb 2015:
First Read and assigned to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS), House Government and House Rules Committee.   4 March 2015: Withdrawn from House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee (MAPS), House Government and House Rules Committee.   9 March 2015: Read on floor of House. Unanimously adopted by House and transmitted to the Secretary of State. ACTION COMPLETED

To view bills go to:  http://www.azleg.gov/Bills.asp

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2015 BASE CAMP http://azdemvet.com/2015/03/19/2015-base-camp/ http://azdemvet.com/2015/03/19/2015-base-camp/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 00:48:32 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=1045 BASE CAMP 2015

Veterans and friends are cordially invited to attend Base Camp 2015 to be held April 3, 4, and 5 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 2015). The purpose of Base Camp is to provide a location for veterans and friends to assemble and share camaraderie. Live music and entertainment is provided on Saturday night. ADMISSION IS FREE.

Base Camp has military ambiance with bunkers/fighting positions simulating a firebase or a line unit’s perimeter defense camp. Military apparel and military vehicles are welcomed. We fly the American, POW/MIA, and the Republic of Viet Nam flags.   There is also a 35-foot high observation tower and other military type structures, water and two flush toilets, a stage for live entertainment on Saturday, and a shooting range dug into the ground at the base of a mountain as a backstop for target shooting. Camp out Friday and Saturday nights. Bring your own food, beverages, and drinking water. All veterans are encouraged to attend.

DIRECTIONS TO BASE CAMP

Traveling south on I-10 from Phoenix, exit I-10 at Wild Horse Pass. Take the first left turn (Maricopa) to go past Motor Sports Park, formerly Firebird Lakes, on your left. Proceed past the fire station on your right to the T intersection with the stop sign. Turn right. Now you are on the road (Highway 347) to Maricopa. Go through Maricopa, cross the Railroad tracks by the big RR water tower and continue 2 miles to Ak Chin Casino. Highway 347 is also called John Wayne Highway.

Go 2 miles past the casino to Papago (you will see a large Santa Rosa Cooling sign) and turn right (west). Go west 4.5 miles on Papago until you curve left (south) on to Warren. Go about .9 miles south on Warren until you reach Val Vista where you turn right (west) onto a dirt road and go west through the wash and past the canal .5 miles to the first street on your left—Deer Trail. Turn left (south) onto Deer Trail, and go .5 miles to where it meets Quail Run. Go right (west) on Quail Run for .1 mile to the entrance of 9014 North Wealth Road and Base Camp. The house phone number is 520-868-6777 and my cell phone number is 602-509-8762.

SCHEDULE: April 3—1200—Set up camp

            April 4—1000—Flag raising, Betsey Bayless, Col. Joey Strickland, USA (Ret)

1200—1800–Open Time

1800—Entertainment

April 5—Break camp—go home

THERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE, FAIR RULES TO FOLLOW WHILE AT BASE CAMP.

  1. You WILL have fun.
  2. Shooting range use—SAFETY FIRST—and police all brass and ammo.
  3. NO ILLEGAL DRUGS.
  4. HOLD HANDLE DOWN until toilet flushes completely as a courtesy to others.
  5. POLICE your areas of ALL TRASH and respect other people’s rights and property.

We’ll see you at Base Camp 2015. For further information, call Joe at 602-509-8762 or 602-253-2378 or 520-868-6777.

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Veterans Courts trending in Arizona – Arizona Republic http://azdemvet.com/2015/03/18/veterans-courts-trending-in-arizona-arizona-republic/ http://azdemvet.com/2015/03/18/veterans-courts-trending-in-arizona-arizona-republic/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 18:32:41 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=1038 Veterans Courts trending in Arizona

Jim Walsh, The Republic | azcentral.com 10:14 p.m. MST March 17, 2015

This man is accused of hitting his wife. That one was caught driving drunk. Another has a traffic violation.
They’re here because they served in America’s military forces, and court officials and prosecutors believe they
deserve a second chance.With more military men and women returning from the battlefield with physical and
mental wounds, courts that cater only to veterans — focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment — are
operating across the country, and Arizona is on the vanguard of the trend.

Arizona has 10 Veterans Courts, stretching from Tucson to Phoenix to Flagstaff, and the capital city is considered
by some to have the largest Veterans Court in the country. Three new courts have been added in Tempe, Mesa and
Chandler since September, and an 11th Veterans Court is being planned in La Paz County.

Often referred to as “therapeutic courts” or “problem-solving courts,” Veterans Courts promote treatment and
self-improvement for defendants with relatively minor misdemeanor offenses. Veterans who complete a variety of
counseling sessions typically plead guilty to lesser charges and receive lighter sentences.

Eligibility for more lenient sentences is not unique to defendants in Veterans Court; the same is true for a number
of first-time offenders who complete court-ordered programs in Superior and Justice Courts.

Most Veterans Courts in Arizona are patterned after the Phoenix Veterans Court, which began in 2012 after city
prosecutor Patricia George noticed a pattern of “red flags” in misdemeanor cases involving former military
personnel. In three years, 795 veterans have participated in the Phoenix program, with more than 250 successfully
graduating, even though it can take six to 18 months to complete counseling and treatment programs.

At first, the Phoenix Veterans Court was used by a large number of Vietnam War veterans who ended up homeless
and in trouble, according to George, assistant bureau chief in the community prosecution unit. She said many of
these veterans never received benefits they earned as part of their service to the country.

“They had tons of services available and didn’t know how to access them,” she said, adding that the veterans often
had substance-abuse problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or some form of
mental illness.

Veterans who may be struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse are identified as they come into
the justice system; they are then connected to the court.

George views the Veterans Courts as a means of steering veterans to treatment they need to improve their lives
before their problems lead to more serious offenses and felony convictions.

She said many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who ended up as defendants in Veterans Court had
deployed three or four times; one had deployed nine times.

Wes Shipley, director of the east division for Maricopa County Adult Probation, said he hopes the growth of
Veterans Courts at the Municipal Court level will eventually reduce the number of veterans who are convicted of
felonies and end up in Maricopa County Superior Court’s veterans program.

Shipley said a team of six adult-probation officers and their supervisor works with 360 veterans who have been
convicted of felonies and are considered high risk. Adult probation has about 1,900 veterans in its caseload.

Veterans sometimes earn a misdemeanor conviction instead of a felony if they complete probation, but the primary
purpose is to improve veterans’ lives and avoid probation violations that lead to a prison sentence.

Veterans who fail to follow treatment programs sometimes get “a wake-up call,” a weekend in a county jail.

Shipley said the approach is working well, with nearly 82 percent of those in the Veterans Court during the 2014
fiscal year successfully completing their probation and a little more than 18 percent violating their probation
and ending up in prison. Only 1.4 percent is arrested on a new felony charge.

By comparison, about 77 percent of all Superior Court probationers successfully completed their probation during
the 2014 fiscal year, and a little more than 21 percent violated their probation. Nearly 6.5 percent of probationers
went on to be convicted of a new felony offense, according to an annual report of adult and juvenile probation
departments in Maricopa County.

Tiffany Grissom, Veterans Court supervisor, said she often sees young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who
functioned well in a structured military environment but are unprepared for civilian life. She said her success stories
include a Desert Storm veteran who ended up homeless and addicted to methamphetamine. Counseling helped him
get clean, and the VA helped him get an apartment.

“Initially, I think it’s staying out of prison” that motivates veterans to complete the program, she said. “Once we get
buy-in, it’s to improve their life.”

While most criminal courts exist to enforce the law and punish offenders, defendants who enter Veterans Courts at
the municipal level encounter a much less threatening atmosphere: a room full of people from social-service agencies
poised to help them.

The purpose of these courts is to connect veterans with services designed to treat the underlying problems that got
them into trouble. Many times, these problems stem from their military service — with veterans turning to alcohol or
drugs to self-medicate symptoms of PTSD or traumatic brain injury.

Many cases that come before these courts include driving under the influence, domestic violence and other types of
assault. The court’s goal is to assist veterans so they don’t reoffend. In the Tempe court, graduates receive a medal
and a certificate from Judge Pro Tem Gregg Maxon, a retired general who has made the Veterans Courts his mission.
Most of all, they get a second chance.

“I would say the end result will be positive for them,” said MaryAnne Majestic, Tempe Municipal Court’s presiding
judge. “I feel horrified that someone would have to go through the justice system to get the services they deserve.”

Jeffrey O’Hara, one of the first graduates of the Tempe Veterans Court program, was cited for hit-and-run after he
admittedly got impatient and clipped the bumper of a car with his motorcycle while turning into a lot.

An Army Iraq veteran, O’Hara took anger-management classes through the Department of Veterans Affairs. He
pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, paid a $221 fine and decided to sell his motorcycle.

O’Hara said he felt fortunate compared with other veterans charged with more serious crimes. ”Seeing what everyone
else was going through made me want to avoid it in the future,” he said.

Christopher Bilandzija, a Coast Guard veteran who appeared as a defendant in the Mesa court on a traffic ticket,
was so impressed that he decided to sign up for a veterans-mentoring program. ”The veterans who go before him are
extremely fortunate,” Bilandzija said, referring to Maxon. “He will help them if they listen. He speaks our language.”

David Donaldson, an Army veteran with two tours of duty in Iraq, said he was diagnosed with PTSD and traumatic
brain injury and admits to making some of the same mistakes that landed others in the Veterans Court program.
Donaldson now works in the courts for Rally Point, a professional network of the U.S. military, steering fellow vets
into the services they need.

“This is my dream job, to help other veterans,” Donaldson said. “Some vets have gotten to a point where they are
locked in an addiction; they are locked on a bad road.”

Maxon, a consultant to the Arizona Supreme Court, uses his military knowledge to give veterans who appear before
him in Mesa and Tempe a prescription for success, from counseling to vocational services. A former military attorney,
he served as a defense attorney in Phoenix Veterans Court before serving as a judge in the East Valley courts to get the
programs started.

“These guys are national treasures. They raised their hands to do something that most people were not willing to do,
” Maxon said. “I think it’s up to us to reach down and pick them back up.”

Republic reporter Garrett Mitchell contributed to this article.

 

More coverage: Get a closer look at an East Valley Veterans Court in your southeast Valley community sections or
online at mesa.azcentral.com.

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12th Annual VMLC Heroes Patriotic Luncheon Celebrating Veterans http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/30/12th-annual-vmlc-heroes-patriotic-luncheon-celebrating-veterans/ http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/30/12th-annual-vmlc-heroes-patriotic-luncheon-celebrating-veterans/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 23:42:20 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=993 12th Annual VMLC Heroes Patriotic Luncheon Celebrating Veterans
Arizona Biltmore Resort in Scottsdale - Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom

The membership of the Veterans Medical Leadership Council (VMLC) thanks you for your service to our nation.  It is because of your devoted service and sacrifices that American families can continue to enjoy the precious freedoms that exemplify the American way of life.

The mission of the Veterans Medical Leadership is to ensure quality medical and mental health care for Veterans, and to encourage initiatives which honor the contributions made to the city, state & nation by Veterans, and the men and women serving in the US Military Forces.

The 12th Annual Heroes Patriotic Luncheon is an opportunity for the VMLC, and the community to honor our troops and Veterans, of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and the Coast Guard.  Please join us on Friday, November 7, 2014, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort, Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom.  Music, general reception and raffle will begin at 11:00 am, followed by the Luncheon Program at 12:00 noon. Please see attached invitation and our website at-http://www.arizonavmlc.org/#!events/cfvg for more details and to register for the event.

If you have any questions, please contact Trisha Anthony at: tanthony@gcjpr.com or (602) 274-1988.

Best regards, Rita Brock-Perini, Chair, VMLC Heroes Patriotic Luncheon
Vietnam Veteran,
US Air Force (Nurse Corps)
AZ Veterans Hall of Fame, Class of 2013

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Gubernatorial Veterans Debate http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/29/gubernatorial-veterans-debate/ http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/29/gubernatorial-veterans-debate/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:35:31 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=991 Gubernatorial Veterans Debate

Arizona State University Downtown
500 North 3rd Street
6:15 pm to 9:00 pm

The ASU Student Veterans Association (SVA) and the Madison Street Veterans Association (MSVA) are sponsoring a Gubernatorial Veterans Debate on Wed, October 8th.

This is a debate solely about VETERANS issues at ASU Downtown, sponsored by the ASU Veterans Group (all campuses), Madison St. Home and the VFW is broadcasting the notice to all of it’s installations AZ wide.

Gubernatorial candidates have been invited to participate, or send their Representative. Fred DuVal and Barry Hess have confirmed their attendance, Doug Ducey has been invited but not accepted the invitation at this time.

Here is the link to sign-up for the Gubernatorial Veterans Debate on October 8th. You may have to paste the link into your browser,

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/asu-downtown-student-veteran-association-gubernatorial-forum-tickets-13272068113?utm_campaign=new_eventv2&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eb_email&utm_term=eventurl_text

This debate is open to the public, but SVA is sending it out to the veteran community first. Please log-on and register to secure your spot. There are only 186 seats available and it will be sent out to the general public early next week.

This is very important for the veteran community. We need to let our elected officials know that we hold them accountable. We hope to see everyone there.

Please share with your veteran friends, RSVP at once if you are interested in going, I just checked and there are only 152 seats still available, seating is limited.

Ted Simons from KAET will moderate. We are hopeful that KAET will provide some kind of coverage of the event or perhaps televise it, not firm at this time.

RSVP at once if interested

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Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/29/arizona-veterans-hall-of-fame-induction-ceremony/ http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/29/arizona-veterans-hall-of-fame-induction-ceremony/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 23:28:40 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=985 This information is provided by: Unified Arizona Veterans (UAV) Tomorrow, Sept 30th is the deadline for the Early Bird registration to participate in the Friday, October 24th Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes, doors open to the public at 10:30 am, Twenty-five (25) Arizona veterans will be inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame for their outstanding contributions to their neighborhoods, towns, cities, and Arizona, see the attached News Release for the names of the men and women who will be inducted on October 24th, and for the details regarding participating in the Friday, October 24th Induction Ceremony.    The Early Bird registration fee is $55 per person.  The fee increases to $60 per person on Wednesday, October 1st.  You may register at:  www.azuav.org Please have ready your group's Names, Lunch entree selections, and which Inductee you wish to sit with, and your credit card information. You may also register via US mail, send your List of Names, Lunch entree selections, which Inductee you wish to sit with, and your check or money order payable to UAV, to: Treasurer, Unified Arizona Veterans PO Box 34338 Phoenix 85067 Be sure to get your envelope postmarked with the Sept 30th date, Thank you! Our Registrar Sue Wudy is available to answer your questions about registering, 602.277.4168, lilsarge@mindspring.com ]]> http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/29/arizona-veterans-hall-of-fame-induction-ceremony/feed/ 0 Daisy Mountain Veterans Parade in Anthem, AZ‏ http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/29/daisy-mountain-veterans-parade-in-anthem-az%e2%80%8f/ http://azdemvet.com/2014/09/29/daisy-mountain-veterans-parade-in-anthem-az%e2%80%8f/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 22:39:53 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=983 Information provided by:  Unified Arizona Veterans (UAV)

 

From: Mary Ann Derryberry  daisymtnvetsparade@cox.net
Sent: Sep 26, 2014 10:05 PM
Subject: Daisy Mountain Veterans Parade

Good Evening Friends of the Daisy Mountain Veterans,

The deadline for sponsorship and/or participation for our 10th annual Daisy Mountain Veterans Parade on Saturday, November 8th is fast approaching.  If you have already submitted your sponsorship and/or participation forms…. we Thank You.  Without you there would be no parade!  If you haven’t done so yet please don’t wait, October 1st is the deadline.

Your participation and financial assistance make it possible for the committee to bring the parade from concept to reality.  We already have over 40 Vietnam Combat Veterans to be honored as Grand Marshals and given the homecoming parade they should have had.  I’m especially proud to say, to date, we have 5 Women Veterans from Vietnam that will be in the parade.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.  It is our desire to make the parade a winner for both the participants and viewing public.

Thanks,

Mary Ann Derryberry
www.DaisyMtnVets.org
Do The Right Thing
Do It The Right Way
Do It Right Now!

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ASU Alumni Law Group http://azdemvet.com/2014/07/31/asu-alumni-law-group/ http://azdemvet.com/2014/07/31/asu-alumni-law-group/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:45:27 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=978 Ladies and Gentlemen,

From: Gabe Forsberg
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:33 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:

Subject: Fwd: ASU Alumni Law Group

The ASU Law Group is a new law firm established to hire recent ASU law School graduates to give them practical experience in the practice of law following graduation.  Experienced attorneys supervise their work.  The ASU Alumni Law Group wishes to work with veterans who have legal problems that need attention.  While the services are not free, the rates are substantially below market rates for legal services.  Below is the announcement the ASU Law Group recently issued.  Please feel free to pass this information along to your constituents.

 

Sent: Gregg Maxon

The ASU Alumni Law Group: Affordable Legal Services for Veterans.

Veterans and active service members may have special considerations that affect their legal needs. The ASU Alumni Law Group is available to assist with the issues you would have taken to your Legal Assistance Office, but with the added ability to represent you in court if necessary. We understand the nature of your service, the impact on your family, and your expectation of candid and straight-forward advice.

The firm’s practice areas cover general civil matters, including consumer law issues, housing and deficiency actions, landlord-tenant disputes, employment and small business matters. The firm also provides family law and criminal defense services. In addition to the range of practice areas available, the ASU Alumni Law Group can assist with questions about up-grading your discharge characterization, medical and physical evaluation boards, and disability claims and benefits with the VA.

Services are supervised by a lawyer who is a retired Colonel with 25 years of experience with the US Army and Arizona National Guard, serving in the Staff Judge Advocate Offices, as a Human Resources Officer, and Chief of Staff.

The ASU Alumni Law Group provides affordable legal services by charging below-market rates.  Rates range from $75.00 to $150.00 per hour, depending on the complexity of the matter and clients’ ability to pay.

Find out more at www.asualumnilawgroup.org

Or call 602-251-3620

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(N.A.U.S.) – - NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for UNIFORM SERVICES http://azdemvet.com/2014/07/20/n-a-u-s-national-association-for-uniform-services/ http://azdemvet.com/2014/07/20/n-a-u-s-national-association-for-uniform-services/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 01:00:21 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=974 VA leadership has to listen … because if it don’t, they’ll take us off a cliff … and I’m telling you, we’re close to the edge.”

 ~ Ronald Robinson, USA, Retired, Senior Veterans Service Representative, Columbia, South Carolina, VA Whistle blower ~

 


NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for UNIFORM SERVICES  (NAUS)

Weekly update – July 18, 2014

 

No Accord Yet
House and Senate conferees on H.R. 3230, The Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, continue to meet trying to find an accord to meet the funding needs of the bill.

The bill addresses two main issues: 1.) timely access to health care for sick and disabled veterans; and 2.) VA leadership accountability due to the culture of corruption that exists among too many senior leaders who have put selfish intentions ahead of selfless public service for those veterans who have earned the nation’s care.

Final action on the bill has stalled in the conference committee, called to sort out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. During House consideration Thursday to provide further instruction to House conferees, Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Jeff Miller (R-FL) said he remains confident that a report can pass before August. “We are making progress on the conference report, and to recede at this point to the Senate position would be premature at best.”

The main difference continues to revolve around whether costs of the measure should be offset against reductions in lower priority programs (House position) or declared an emergency and paid for with additional borrowings added to the nations’ growing and dangerously large $17 trillion debt (Senate position).

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Defense Bill
On Thursday the Senate Appropriations Committee, by voice vote, approved the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill, which grants the White House its requested authority to train and equip vetted members of the Syrian rebels despite deep bipartisan reservations.

The bill would provide $489.6 billion for the Defense Department’s base budget and another $58.3 billion in funding for the war-related Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. The OCO accounts also include another $1.4 billion for the State Department and military construction projects.

During the markup, the committee approved an amendment aimed at preserving tuition benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserve, as well as an amendment that would set aside $7.5 million in the Defense Health Program to research ALS.

The House defense spending bill fully funds TRICARE programs and blocks many of the other more controversial cuts proposed by the Pentagon for next year and funds several lawmaker priorities not in the request, but still stays within budget caps by trimming hundreds of other accounts.

Among those additions are $1.3 billion for 12 E/A-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, $848 million to refuel the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and $125 million to accelerate competition on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. The bill also denies the Air Force its cost-saving plan to retire its fleet of A-10 close-air support aircraft by providing $338 million to maintain the planes.

Meanwhile, the bill funds the 34 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and the three Littoral Combat Ships requested by the Obama administration. The committee added another $80 million to the LCS accounts for next year for the Navy to buy long-lead parts for another ship.


Welcome to the NAUS Weekly Update. Please email us any feedback, corrections or tips. You can join NAUS online here.


Confirmation Hearing
This week the Senate Armed Services committee held a confirmation hearing for Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. to be the next Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Future Confirmation Hearing
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will be holding a confirmation hearing Tuesday July 22 on the nomination of Robert McDonald to be the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  While Mr. McDonald is expected to be confirmed, he will have many problems to fix when he takes over at the VA.


HEALTH CARE NEWS

TRICARE Lab Test Coverage Restored
The Defense Health Agency will restore TRICARE coverage this month for up to 40 genetic tests used in patient care. Many of these laboratory-developed tests — also called molecular pathology tests — are viewed as medically necessary. But TRICARE had stopped reimbursing for more than 100 such tests in January 2013, believing it lacked authority to pay for them when such tests are ordered by civilian physicians delivering care through TRICARE provider networks.

Renew Your TRICARE “Compliance Card”
The DD Form 2560 Compliance Card, used at military medical facilities, is a convenient way for beneficiaries to show that they have completed the required Third Party Collection/Other Health Insurance paperwork that verifies the type of medical coverage they have, whether it is TRICARE or some other brand of insurance.

The Third Party/OHI/Compliance Card form must be filled out once a year, or more often during hospital stays, ambulatory procedure visits (outpatient surgery) or when there is a change in insurance status. Per DOD Instruction 6010.1, all non-active-duty beneficiaries are required to fill out form 2569 whether or not they have other health insurance. When the form is completed, a new compliance card is issued. The card should be presented with a military ID at each visit. For more information, contact your local military medical facility.


ACTIVE DUTY NEWS

Twilight Tattoo Return
If you live near Washington, D.C., or plan on visiting this summer, the Twilight Tattoo is always a great “free” ceremony to attend. The Tattoo is an hour-long, live-action military pageant featuring soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”

Audience members from around the world experience a glimpse into American history through the performances, which begin at 7 p.m. Pre-ceremony pageantry begins at 6:45 p.m. Performances will be located at Whipple Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH) in Fort Myer, Va., and of course if the weather is bad, held indoors at Conmy Hall also on JBM-HH.

The 2014 Twilight Tattoo season has performances scheduled each Wednesday evening until August 20. Dates and times are subject to change, so check the Twilight Schedule online.


VETERANS NEWS

VA Directs Monthly VSO/MSO Meetings at All VA Medical Centers
Last week we reported that Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson recently informed leadership of 26 Military and Veterans Service Organizations (MSOs and VSOs) that he has directed all VA Medical Center leadership to hold monthly meetings with VSOs and community partners.

NAUS also asked for Members-at-Large to volunteer to attend those meetings in areas where there is no NAUS Chapter that meets.

We are again asking for volunteers to attend these monthly meeting and make a small report back to NAUS HQ on what is discussed. This way we can use the information to guide our interactions with the VA.

We have two volunteers already. One from the Seattle area and one in North Carolina.

If you volunteer we will provide you with a letter and card proving your affiliation with NAUS.

We also ask all NAUS Chapters near a VA Medical Center to designate a representative to attend these meeting and forward the name, member number and email to NAUS HQ.

If they have not done so already, your local VA Medical Centers will soon be organizing these meetings. Contact your local Med Center Director and ask to be included as a NAUS representative. Your feedback from these meetings will be critical. Send an email to mplumer@naus.org if you wish to volunteer. Thanks in advance.

Marine Corps Offers Historical Database
Family members of Marines, who were wounded, killed, deemed a prisoner of war or missing during past wars can now access their loved ones’ casualty card using the Marine Corps History Division’s new online database.

Each casualty card lists the military member’s unit, service number, type of casualty and date of death. Currently, there are digitized casualty cards for World War II, Interwar period 1946-50, and for war dogs, trained military dogs that served in combat. Korean War cards are scheduled to be complete and released this summer and Vietnam in the fall.

To access the online database, visit the U.S. Marine Corps History Division Casualty Card Databases webpage, or to request a copy of the original card, send an email to history.division@usmc.mil.

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Postal Inspector openings – With thanks to Irene! http://azdemvet.com/2014/06/13/postal-inspector-openings-with-thanks-to-irene/ http://azdemvet.com/2014/06/13/postal-inspector-openings-with-thanks-to-irene/#comments Sat, 14 Jun 2014 00:12:31 +0000 http://azdemvet.com/?p=958  

 

 

GetAttachment[1] - Copy

From: Mier, Irene M – Phoenix, AZ Irene.M.Mier@usps.gov

Subject: Postal Inspector Jobs
To: claudehc@yahoo.com
Date: Friday, June 13, 2014, 6:54 am

Wanted: U.S. Postal Inspectors 


Posted 6/11/14 at 1:03 pm

The Postal Inspection Service is accepting online applications for Postal Inspector positions from June 19, 12:01 a.m. EDT through June 22, 11:59 p.m. EDT.  Visit the Postal Inspection Service site for information on the general requirements needed to become a Postal Inspector and to learn how to apply.

Irene M. Mier EEO ADR Specialist
AZ District – Western Area EEO Field Operations
Phone:  (602) 223-3604
FAX:  (651) 456-5066

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