Monday, November 11, is Veterans Day, a time to honor all of those who have worn the uniform of one of the armed services and dedicated themselves to defending our nation and our way of life. As part of a family with a long military tradition, I know how much it means to those who have served that we pause in our daily lives to express our respect and gratitude.
California has the second largest population of veterans of any state and San Diego has the second largest veteran population of all the cities in the state. That is why it is extremely important to me to advocate legislative policy that makes the transition to civilian life as easy as possible for those leaving the service.
I am pleased to report to you that the State Legislature was able to enact the following measures this year:
Preventing Homelessness Among Veterans: I was proud to be a principal co-author of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez‘s AB 639, which will ask voters to approve the repurposing of existing housing bond funds to finance supportive housing for veterans. Twenty percent of the homeless people in San Diego are veterans. I joined Governor Brown and Speaker Pérez for a bill signing ceremony for AB 639 at San Diego’s Veterans Village.
Military Thrift Stores: My bill AB 163 extended the sales and use tax exemption for thrift stores on military bases, allowing more of the proceeds from these volunteer-run operations to be made available to members of military families for emergency assistance and financial skills programs. This bill was signed into law by Governor Brown after it was passed by the Legislature.
Veterans Services: The 2013-14 state budget allocated $6 million for veterans services. This funding has created “strike teams,” including one here in San Diego, to assist the federal government in reducing the backlog of veterans’ benefits claims.
Veterans Treatment Court: I authored ACR 36, which encourages court systems throughout the state to adopt the model of Vets Court created here in San Diego. Vets Court offers a rigorous program of counseling and treatment to veterans with legal problems as an alternative to incarceration. This program has a recidivism rate of only 7.3%, much lower than the rate seen in many other court diversion programs. Veterans Court has saved taxpayers more than $1 million per year in jail-related costs. Only 12 other counties in the state have such a program.
I hope you will join me in honoring veterans this Monday. I will be attending the San Diego Veterans Day Parade. Information about the parade is below:
2013 San Diego Veterans Day Parade
November 11, 2013
11 AM to 1:30 PM
Arrive early to get good seating, starts promptly at 11 AM.
Harbor Drive from Grape Street to West Harbor Drive
If you cannot attend the parade, please take the time to say “thank you” to someone who has served.
78th Assembly District