2021 Veterans and Military Legislation from the 112th General Assembly
The attachment below comes from a database prepared by the state legislature to provide updates on bills. The description of each bill is created when the bill is generated, but doesn't always reflect what is going on with amendments, which may make the bill vary significantly.
What gets most of our veteran bills left in a committee at the end of the year is the dreaded "fiscal note". A fiscal note comes from the Comptrollers office and assigns an estimated cost of the bill (how much the state would lose, or gain, in revenue). These estimates can be pretty enlightening at what they consider the cost to be, even with input from the affected Department.
In almost every case, if there is a fiscal note which the governor has not funded on a bill, it stands little to no chance of passing.
For further study of a specific bill, go to Tennessee General Assembly Search (tn.gov) and type in the bill number (ie SB 1183 our bill for VA leave time). When the bill page comes up, look at the amendments and fiscal note pages for further information.
Veterans and Military Legislation enacted by the 111th General Assembly
Veterans Education Programs (Public Law No: 116-128, Mar. 21, 2020). Directs the VA to treat certain programs of education that have been converted to distance learning because of emergencies and health-related situations in the same manner as programs of education pursued at educational institutions.
Student Veterans Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (Public Law No: 116-140, Apr. 28, 2020). Provides a variety of education programs and assistance for veterans during the covered period from March 1 to Dec. 21, 2020, because of the pandemic.
Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specialty Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019 (Public Law No: 116-154, Aug. 8, 2020). Provides improvements to VA’s adaptive housing and educational assistance programs.
Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Action of 2019 (Public Law No: 116-153, Aug. 8, 2020). Establishes grants and technical assistance for state, local, and tribal governments to develop and maintain veterans’ treatment court programs to help veterans charged with nonviolent crimes receive the help and the benefits they need.
Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 (Public Law No: 116-171, Oct. 17, 2020). Improves mental health care and suicide prevention programs in the VA.
Veterans’ Care Quality Transparency Act (Public Law No: 116-177, Oct. 20, 2020). Requires the comptroller general to assess the effectiveness of all agreements the VA has entered, including non-VA organizations related to suicide prevention and mental health services.
Vet Center Eligibility Expansion Act (Public Law No: 116-177, Oct. 20, 2020). Requires the VA to expand readjustment counseling and mental health services through its Vet Center Program.
Whole Veteran Act (Public Law No: 116-185, Oct. 30, 2020). Requires the VA to submit a report to Congress on advancing its whole health initiative to transform the veterans’ health care system.
VA Website Accessibility Act of 2019 (Public Law No: 116-213, Dec. 4, 2020). Requires VA to study and report on the VA website’s accessibility to individuals with disabilities.
Veterans Comprehensive, Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment (COMPACT) Act of 2020 (Public Law No: 116-214, Dec. 5, 2020). Enhances transition assistance services and suicide prevention programs as well as improves care and services for women veterans.
MTC Members Participate in TVET 2020 Day on the Hill
5 February 2020.
On 5 February hundreds of Veterans descended on the TN State Capitol in support of a number of important legislative initiatives. Many thanks to the Women Veterans of America Chapter in Clarksville for taking the lead on this event for 2020.
MOAA was very well represented at the event with five Chapters (Chattanooga Chapter, Fort Campbell Chapter, Memphis Chapter, Middle TN Chapter, and the Stones River Chapter) in attendance. MTC was represented by Lt. Col. Scott Findley, USAF; COL John Furgess, USA; LTC Doug Gilbert, USA; COL Doug Minton, USA; LTC Mike Patenaude, USA; Maj. Gen. Carl Schneider, USAF; Lt. Col. Karon Uzzell-Baggett, USAF; LTC Thad Vann, USA; and of course COL Sam Whitson, USA who was in session as a State Representative. (Pictured above from left to right: LTC Pete Warner, USA(Pres. Stones River Chapter);Lt.Col. Scott Findley, LTC Doug Gilbert, MajGen. Carl Schneider, COL Doug Minton, and LTC Thad Vann - all MTC members).
Middle TN Chapter Non-Partisan Policy
The Middle TN Chapter Board and Membership has a mandate to always remain politically nonpartisan as an affiliate organization of MOAA National. As such, we do not support or oppose any candidate for political office. We will periodically provide notice that a member is continuing to serve by running for office; however this is not to be construed as an endorsement of his or her political views.
Normally during this time frame each year we would organize visits to our elected officials when they are home during Congressional break and when the TN State Legislature is out of session. However, this being an election year we are unable to accomplish these tasks without being drawn into the election fray.
So, while the Chapter cannot become actively involved in supporting a candidate, we whole heartedly support the individual involvement of our members on a personal basis. An informed and active electorate is important to the success of our state and nation, so it is up to each of us to become informed on the issues and to vote and encourage all that you know to do so as well.