Today's Law As Amended

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SB-312 Veterans: service dog assistance.(2019-2020)


 Section 81 is added to the Military and Veterans Code, to read:

 (a) (1) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall, upon appropriation by the Legislature, establish a competitive grant program to provide assistance for the cost of service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, irrespective of their medical treatment provider.
(2) The department may cover reasonable administrative costs of implementing this section using funds appropriated by the Legislature for the competitive grant program.
(b) Competitive grants shall be awarded to veteran service dog providers certified pursuant to Section 82 to provide the following services to meet the specific needs of a veteran:
(1) Purchase of a dog, including the cost of vaccinations, spaying, or neutering, and a microchip.
(2) Service dog training.
(3) Equipment, including, but not limited to, a harness, service dog vest, leashes, collars, and a crate for the dog.
(4) Veterinarian services for the dog.
(c) A certified veteran service dog provider may provide financial assistance for the veterinarian services of a dog through referral to a certified veterinarian located within a reasonable distance of the site of the training or matching of the service dog or the residence of the veteran being provided assistance.
(d) Competitive grants shall be awarded in support of the state’s strategic plan for providing veterans with mental health assistance, as described in Section 90.
(e) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall publicize the services provided by recipients of grants pursuant to subdivision (b) to disabled veterans. This shall include, but not be limited to, efforts on the department’s internet website and through outreach to appropriate nonprofit entities.
(f) The department shall, no later than July 1, 2021, develop regulations for the implementation of this section. The regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the application criteria, application process, data collection, and accountability for program expenditures and metrics for evaluation of assistance provided.

SEC. 2.

 Section 82 is added to the Military and Veterans Code, to read:

 (a) On and after December 1, 2021, the department shall accept and either approve or reject applications to certify veteran service dog providers.
(b) To become certified, a veteran service dog provider shall meet all of the following requirements:
(1) The provider shall have an established history of all of the following:
(A) The humane treatment of animals, including service animals.
(B) Being directly responsible for the operational training and matching of service dogs.
(C) Assuring the long-term support of clients and dogs, including veterans and service dogs.
(2) The provider provides veteran service dogs or services in accordance with the requirements of Section 81.
(3) The provider demonstrates, through the submission of appropriate supporting data, the knowledge, experience, and cultural competency to provide veteran service dog services.
(4) The provider demonstrates, through audits and employment history, the fiscal and management capacity to capably provide veteran service dog services.
(5) The provider is a nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal income taxation as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(6) The provider demonstrates through the submission of appropriate supporting data that the provider has effectively served the needs of veterans and service dogs.
(7) The provider demonstrates that all required filings with the Secretary of State, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Franchise Tax Board are current, that the entity complies with the requirements of Article 1.3 (commencing with Section 17510) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code, and complies with all standards included in the Attorney General’s Guide for Charities.
(c) A veteran service dog provider shall provide to the department current copies of all of the following documents upon application for certification and at any time during the certification process on request and reasonable notice by the department:
(1) Articles of incorporation and all amendments to the articles of incorporation.
(2) A letter of determination from the Internal Revenue Service.
(3) A taxpayer identification number.
(4) Independent audit reports for the previous three years.
(d) In order to obtain certification, a veteran service dog provider shall apply to the department, in a form and manner as required by the department.
(e) The department shall maintain a list of certified veteran service dog providers on its internet website, including the type of services provided by each provider.
(f) (1) On or before March 1, 2021, the department shall provide a progress report to the Legislature on its implementation of this section and of Section 81.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(g) For the purpose of certification, the department may accept current certifications and licenses from any other state entity, agency, or department as supporting evidence of the applicant’s qualifications.
(h) (1) A certification approved by the department shall be valid for three years after the date the department accepts credentials for certification, unless the department decertifies the veteran service dog provider.
(2) The department may decertify a veteran service dog provider if it determines the provider no longer meets the requirements for certification.
(3) Certification by the department may be used by other departments or agencies for any other appropriate purpose, as determined by that department or agency.
(i) For the purposes of this section and for Section 81, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Service dog” means a service animal as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.).
(2) “Veteran service dog provider” means, but is not limited to, organizations accredited by Assistance Dogs International, certified California veteran service providers, as defined in Section 881, organizations that provide American Kennel Club certified service dog training, and other nonprofit organizations that provide service dog related services.