PA 07-187—sHB 6949

Select Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE SOLDIERS, SAILORS AND MARINES FUND, SERVICE BONUSES FOR CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE CONNECTICUT NATIONAL GUARD ON ACTIVE SERVICE WITH THE ARMED FORCES, AND THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PROVISIONS PROHIBITING DISRUPTION OF A FUNERAL

SUMMARY: This act increases, from $500 to $1,200, the maximum service bonus payable to current or former Connecticut National Guard members who serve or served in combat zones on or after September 11, 2001, and it establishes a maximum $500 bonus for current or former guard members whose active service during the same period is or was not in a combat zone.

The act transfers the administration of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund to the American Legion from the state treasurer and makes related changes.

The act changes the effective date of An Act Concerning Disruption of a Funeral (PA 07-98), making it effective upon passage (June 6), rather than October 1, 2007.

The act also makes conforming and technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007 for the service bonus; upon passage for the other provisions.

SERVICE BONUS

By law, current or former guard members called to active service on or after September 11, 2001 are entitled to a service bonus (1) if they are or were in active service for at least 90 consecutive days; (2) if while in such service, they are or were deployed in a combat zone designated by the president; and (3) if discharged, they were discharged honorably or because of a line-of-duty injury. Under prior law, the bonus was $50 for each month (or major part thereof) of active service after September 11, 2001, up to a maximum of $500.

Beginning July 1, 2007, the act increases the maximum bonus for these combat-zone, active-service guard members, by $700, to $1,200. It establishes a $500 maximum bonus for otherwise qualified current or former guard members whose active service is or was not in a combat zone.

By law and the act, applicants must submit bonus requests within three years after the end of the operation in which they served.

SOLDIERS, SAILORS AND MARINES FUND

The act transfers the administration of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund to the American Legion from the state treasurer, who retains custody of the fund and responsibility for investing money left over after the disbursements required by law.

The act eliminates the requirement that the state treasurer approve the Legion's bylaws governing fund disbursements. It requires the Legion's treasurer to report the disbursements to the governor and the legislature, instead of the state treasurer. The reports are due in January, April, July, and October each year.

Prior law required the state treasurer to give a copy of the fund's regulations and aid applications to each town clerk. The act instead allows the Legion's treasurer to make them available to the clerks.

BACKGROUND

Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund

This fund provides benefits such as food, clothing, medical, surgical, and funeral assistance to needy wartime veterans honorably discharged from active service in the U. S. Armed Forces, their spouses living with them or who lived with them when they died, and dependent children under age 18.

OLR Tracking: VR: KM: PF: RO