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AB-296 Task Force on California Women Veterans Health.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/13/2017 09:00 PM
AB296:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 13, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 296


Introduced by Assembly Members Cervantes and Mathis

February 06, 2017


An act to add and repeal Section 68530 of the Government Code, relating to courts, and making an appropriation therefor. Section 73.2 of the Military and Veterans Code, relating to veterans.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 296, as amended, Cervantes. Veterans treatment courts: Judicial Council assessment and survey. Task Force on California Women Veterans Health.
Existing law establishes the Department of Veterans Affairs and requires the department to develop a transition assistance program to assist veterans successfully transition from military to civilian life and complement the transition program offered by the United States Department of Defense.
This bill would, until July 1, 2023, establish the Task Force on California Women Veterans Health Care, within the department, comprised of 9 voting members appointed by the Secretary of Veteran Affairs. The bill would prohibit task force members from receiving compensation or reimbursement of expenses for their service. The bill would require the secretary to designate an employee of the department to serve as a nonvoting representative of the department to the task force and would require the department to provide staff support to the task force. The bill would require the task force to study the health care needs of women veterans in the state, as specified. The bill would also require the task force to submit an annual report, commencing on or before January 1, 2021, and until January 1, 2023, inclusive, to the Governor and the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature that includes the task force’s findings and recommendations. The bill would require the task force, when conducting its study and preparing its annual report, to consult with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the State Department of Public Health, the Department of Managed Health Care, and representatives of county veterans service offices.

Existing law establishes a statewide system of courts with a superior court of one or more judges in each county. Existing law authorizes the Judicial Council to prescribe the methods, means, and standards for electronic collection of data related to court administration, practice, and procedure.

This bill would require the Judicial Council to report to the Legislature on a study of veterans and veterans treatment courts that includes a statewide assessment, as specified, of veterans treatment courts currently in operation and a survey of counties that do not operate veterans treatment courts that identifies barriers to program implementation and assesses the need for veterans treatment courts in those counties, if funds are received for that purpose. The bill would require the Judicial Council to report to the Legislature on the results of the study, as specified, on or before June 1, 2019. The bill would create the Veterans Court Assessment Fund in the State Treasury, administered by the Judicial Council, and would authorize the fund to accept private donations, as specified. The bill would appropriate specified sums from the Veterans Court Assessment Fund and from the General Fund for the purpose of conducting the study and report.

Vote: TWO_THIRDSMAJORITY   Appropriation: YESNO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature hereby makes the following findings and declarations:
(a) Recently, each branch of the Armed Forces of the United States has opened to women combat positions that were previously closed to women.
(b) According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the projected veterans population nationwide is approximately 23,000,000, with women making up an estimated 10 percent of that population.
(c) The United States Department of Veterans Affairs estimates the percentage of female veterans will increase from approximately 9 percent in 2010 to approximately 18 percent in 2040.
(d) Females comprise approximately 80,000 of the wartime veterans.
(e) The number of women veterans will continue to increase due to ongoing combat operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
(f) Women veterans often face unique challenges when transitioning from active duty to civilian life.
(g) The challenging needs facing women veterans can often be overlooked when providing services to the very large veteran population.
(h) Ensuring the availability of specialized services for physical and mental health, including treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, and alcohol and substance abuse tailored to the specific needs of women veterans is essential if California is to ensure that our returning veterans receive proper care.
(i) Establishing a task force to study the health issues facing women veterans and making recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature will provide much needed information and insight.

SEC. 2.

 Section 73.2 is added to the Military and Veterans Code, to read:

73.2.
 (a) (1) There is hereby created within the department the Task Force on California Women Veterans Health Care.
(2) The task force shall be comprised of nine voting members appointed by the secretary.
(3) Task force members shall not receive compensation or reimbursement of expenses for their service, including travel or other expenses incurred to participate in task force meetings or per diem.
(b) The secretary shall designate an employee of the department to serve as a nonvoting representative of the department to the task force. The department shall provide staff support to the task force.
(c) The task force shall study the health care needs of women veterans in the state, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The quality of, and access to, mental health services, including services and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
(2) Inpatient treatment availability.
(3) The adequacy and availability of appropriate health care for women veterans within the federal health care system and within the state.
(4) The adequacy and quality of, and access to, services providing for the identification and treatment of military sexual trauma, including sexual harassment or abuse.
(d) The task force shall submit an annual report, commencing on or before January 1, 2021, and until January 1, 2023, inclusive, to the Governor and the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature that have jurisdiction over the department, including the findings of the task force’s study and recommendations to improve provision of health care services to women veterans in the state.
(e) The task force, when conducting its study and preparing its annual report, shall consult with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the State Department of Public Health, the Department of Managed Health Care, and representatives of county veterans service offices.
(f)  This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2023, and, as of January 1, 2024, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that becomes operative on or before January 1, 2024, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed.

SECTION 1.Section 68530 is added to the Government Code, to read:
68530.

(a)If the Judicial Council receives funds for the purpose of implementing this section, the Judicial Council shall report to the Legislature on a study of veterans and veterans treatment courts that includes the following:

(1)A statewide assessment of the veterans treatment courts currently in operation that includes the number of veteran participants in the program, services available, and program outcomes, including successful completion or program terminations. The assessment shall evaluate the impact of a sample of veterans treatment courts on participant outcomes, including, but not limited to, program recidivism, mental health, homelessness, employment, social stability, and substance abuse.

(2)A survey of counties that do not operate veterans treatment courts that identifies barriers to program implementation and assesses the need for veterans treatment courts in those jurisdictions based on the veterans services available and the estimated number of veterans involved in the local criminal justice system. The survey shall identify alternative resources that may be available to veterans, such as community courts or other collaborative justice courts.

(b)On or before June 1, 2019, the Judicial Council shall report to the Legislature on the results of the study described in subdivision (a). The report shall include recommendations regarding the expansion of veterans treatment courts or services to counties without veterans treatment courts and shall explore the feasibility of designing regional model veterans treatment courts through the use of service coordination or technological resources. The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795.

(c)Fifty percent of the funds required for the study and report described in this section shall be funded by private sources, and 50 percent of the funds shall be funded by the state, upon appropriation by the Legislature.

(d)The Veterans Court Assessment Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The fund shall be administered by the Judicial Council. The fund may accept private donations from entities and individuals. The Judicial Council shall deposit the donations into the fund.

(e)This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2020, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2020, deletes or extends that date.

SEC. 2.

The sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) is hereby appropriated from the Veterans Court Assessment Fund to the Judicial Council for the purpose of conducting the study and report described in Section 68530 of the Government Code.

SEC. 3.

The sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Judicial Council for the purpose of conducting the study and report described in Section 68530 of the Government Code.