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First Substitute S.B. 126

Senator Peter C. Knudson proposes the following substitute bill:




Chief Sponsor: Peter C. Knudson

House Sponsor: Paul Ray

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill creates a veterans' services coordinator position and requires certain
             10      government entities to provide data to the Utah Department of Veterans' Affairs.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    creates a veterans' coordinator position and qualifications;
             14          .    requires government entities to designate a veterans' services specialist within each
             15      entity;
             16          .    requires contractors receiving government entity funds to participate;
             17          .    provides for training of agency veterans' services specialists; and
             18          .    requires an annual report to the Government Operations Interim Committee.
             19      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             20          None
             21      Other Special Clauses:
             22          None
             23      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             24      AMENDS:
             25          71-8-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2007, Chapters 173 and 329

             26          71-8-3, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2007, Chapter 173
             27      ENACTS:
             28          71-8-5, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             29          71-8-6, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             30          71-8-7, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             31          71-8-8, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             33      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             34          Section 1. Section 71-8-1 is amended to read:
             35           71-8-1. Definitions.
             36          As used in this chapter:
             37          (1) "Contractor" means a person who is or may be awarded a government entity
             38      contract.
             39          [(1)] (2) "Council" means the Veterans' Advisory Council.
             40          [(2)] (3) "Department" means the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
             41          [(3)] (4) "Executive director" means the executive director of the Department of
             42      Veterans' Affairs.
             43          [(4)] (5) "Government entity" means the state and any county, municipality, local
             44      district, special service district, and any other political subdivision or administrative unit of the
             45      state, including state institutions of education.
             46          (6) "Specialist" means a full-time employee of a government entity who is tasked with
             47      responding to, and assisting, veterans who are employed by the entity or come to the entity for
             48      assistance.
             49          [(5)] (7) "Veteran" means:
             50          (a) an individual who has served on active duty in the armed forces for at least 180
             51      consecutive days or was a member of a reserve component, and who has been separated or
             52      retired under honorable conditions; or
             53          (b) any individual incurring an actual service-related injury or disability in the line of
             54      duty whether or not that person completed 180 days of active duty.
             55          Section 2. Section 71-8-3 is amended to read:
             56           71-8-3. Duties of executive director -- Services to veterans.

             57          The executive director shall:
             58          (1) be responsible for the administration and the operation or support of the following
             59      veteran-related operations:
             60          (a) Utah State Veterans' Nursing Homes and Programs;
             61          (b) Utah State Veterans' Cemetery and Memorial Park;
             62          (c) Title 71, Chapter 10, Veteran's Preference;
             63          (d) any locally or federally funded programs for homeless veterans within the state; and
             64          (e) any federally funded education services for veterans within the state;
             65          (2) maintain liaison with local, state, and federal veterans' agencies and with Utah
             66      veterans' organizations;
             67          (3) provide current information so that veterans, their surviving spouses and family
             68      members, and Utah veterans' organizations will be aware of benefits to which they are, or may
             69      become, entitled;
             70          (4) reach out and assist veterans and their families in applying for benefits and
             71      services;
             72          (5) develop and maintain a system for determining how many veterans are employed
             73      by the various government entities within the state and keeping track of them; [and]
             74          (6) cooperate with other state entities in the receipt of information to create and
             75      maintain a record of veterans in Utah[.]; and
             76          (7) prepare an annual report for presentation not later than November 30 of each year
             77      to the Government Operations Interim Committee on:
             78          (a) all services provided to veterans; and
             79          (b) the coordination of veterans' services by government entities with the department.
             80          Section 3. Section 71-8-5 is enacted to read:
             81          71-8-5. Veterans' services coordinator qualifications -- Duties.
             82          (1) The veterans' services coordinator shall:
             83          (a) be a veteran;
             84          (b) have the education and experience in the use of computer technology, including
             85      databases, to collect, manage, and store information; and
             86          (c) have some education and experience in public relations.
             87          (2) The veterans' services coordinator shall be responsible to:

             88          (a) identify all government entities that provide services for veterans;
             89          (b) develop a process for coordination of veterans' services across all government
             90      entities; and
             91          (c) develop and provide training for veterans' affairs specialists on the coordination of
             92      veterans' services with the department.
             93          Section 4. Section 71-8-6 is enacted to read:
             94          71-8-6. Government entity participation.
             95          (1) This section applies to;
             96          (a) the Department of Health and Human Services;
             97          (b) the institutions of higher education listed in 53B-1-102;
             98          (c) the Division of Professional and Occupational Licensing;
             99          (d) the Department of Public Safety; and
             100          (e) the Department of Workforce Services.
             101          (2) Each entity in Subsection (1) shall:
             102          (a) assign a full-time employee, who may be a veteran, as a veterans' services specialist
             103      as part of their duties to coordinate the provision of veterans' services with the department; and
             104          (b) provide the department with nonprotected or nonprivate information about services
             105      provided to veterans.
             106          (3) Each entity shall post on the entity's website:
             107          (a) all services available for veterans from the entity and the contact information for the
             108      veterans' services specialist; and
             109          (b) a link to the department with the contact information for the veterans' services
             110      coordinator.
             111          Section 5. Section 71-8-7 is enacted to read:
             112          71-8-7. Government entity veterans' affairs specialist -- Duties -- Training.
             113          (1) Each government entity listed in Section 71-8-6 shall appoint or designate a
             114      full-time employee as a veterans' affairs specialist.
             115          (2) The veterans' affairs specialist shall:
             116          (a) coordinate the provision of veterans' services by the government entity with the
             117      department; and
             118          (b) attend annual training by the department on coordination processes including

             119      providing nonprotected or nonprivate information to the department.
             120          Section 6. Section 71-8-8 is enacted to read:
             121          71-8-8. Entity that provides no services -- Referral to department.
             122          A government entity that does not provide services to veterans shall, upon a request for
             123      services by a veteran, direct the veteran to contact the department, and provide the veteran with
             124      the department contact information.

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