Veterans Affairs Committee – Week 6, 2020


SF 2266 – Frequency of veterans organizations’ card game tournaments

SF 2266 (SF 2022) allows card game tournaments conducted by a qualified veterans organization (e.g., AmVets, VFW) to be held on a weekly basis. Currently, veterans organizations are limited to two card game tournaments per month. The bill eliminates the per-month maximum but prohibits holding a card game tournament within six calendar days of another card game tournament.
[2/13: short form (Lofgren excused)]  

SF 2267 – Veterans Trust Fund investments  

SF 2267 (SSB 3099) authorizes the investment of Veterans Trust Fund (VTF) moneys in any investments authorized for the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (97B.7A) through the Treasurer of State (TOS). It also eliminates the ability to use VTF moneys for cash flow purposes in a fiscal year.

The chairman said his goal is to earn better interest rates. Committee members emphasized that as this opportunity is explored, the Commission of Veterans Affairs should work with the TOS staff on recommendations and to ensure the safety, liquidity and reasonable rate of return/loss if money is taken out early. The TOS also needs this enabling legislation to invest such funds.
[2/13: short form (Lofgren excused)]  

SF 2307 – Veterans Home Ownership Assistance Program

SF 2307 (SSB 3168) provides that moneys appropriated to the Commission of Veterans Affairs from the Veterans Trust Fund (VTF) that remain unobligated or unexpended at the close of the  fiscal year do not revert to the VTF but will be appropriated to the Iowa Finance Authority for grants to veterans who participate in the home ownership assistance  program.  
[2/18: short form]

SF 2308 – Iowa Patriots Memorial Highway  

SF 2308 (SSB 3100) designates the segment of U.S. Highway 20 between Sioux City and Dubuque as the “Iowa Patriots Memorial Highway.” It requires the Department of Transportation to adopt rules to provide for an application, approval and inspection process for the purchase, and installation of signs indicating the “Iowa Patriots Memorial Highway” designation by private entities. The American Legion of Iowa is working on this with the national organization to coordinate with plans for a Medal of Honor highway designation across the country. The proposal will be discussed further as stakeholders coordinate their efforts.
[2/18: short form]  

SF 2309 – Veterans records, disabled veterans homestead property tax credit filing dates   

SF 2309 (SSB 3145) provides that a county recorder cannot charge a fee for the examination and copying of public records necessary to complete and file claims for veterans benefits. It also modifies the timeline for which a homestead credit is allowed if the person claiming the credit is eligible for the disabled veteran homestead credit amount. For that claimant, the credit applies immediately to property tax payments due and payable beginning with the fiscal year that the claim was filed and for which the person claiming the credit is responsible for payment on or after the date of filing. For example, a claim filed on July 1, 2019, would be allowed for property taxes that are due during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2020. This section (Division II) takes effect upon enactment.
[2/18: short form]

SF 2316 – Veterans Service Officer training funds  

SF 2316 (SSB 3044) originally provided that moneys in the Veterans License Fee (VLF) fund are appropriated to the Commission of Veterans Affairs to provide grants of not more than $3,000 per county annually for training and related expenses of county veteran service officers. Currently, moneys in the fund are appropriated to the Commission to fulfill the responsibilities of the Commission.

It also amended language concerning the county commissions of veteran affairs fund, to provide that counties may use moneys allocated to each county from the fund for training and related expenses of county veteran service officers.

A strike-after amendment was approved (short form, with Dotzler, Giddens, Ragan and R. Taylor recorded as voting “no”), which would send all veterans license fee money to the Veterans Trust Fund, eliminating the VLF fund. Those voting “no” cited lack of time to consider the amendment and a desire for input from stakeholders who are registered against the legislation. They include the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs, DAV-Iowa and the Vietnam Veterans of America State Council.
[2/18: 7-4 (No: Dotzler, Giddens, Ragan, R. Taylor)]