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SJR-26 Mare Island Naval Cemetery. (2017-2018)

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SJR26:v98#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  June 21, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  May 21, 2018
Passed  IN  Assembly  June 18, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Joint Resolution No. 26


Introduced by Senator Dodd
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Grayson)

May 09, 2018


Relative to Mare Island Naval Cemetery.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SJR 26, Dodd. Mare Island Naval Cemetery.
The measure would urge the United States Congress to act favorably in regard to legislation to have the Mare Island Naval Cemetery transferred to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and that the National Cemetery Administration restore the cemetery to national cemetery standards and provide for perpetual care of the facility as dictated by those standards.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, The Mare Island Naval Cemetery is the oldest military cemetery on the West Coast, and the final resting place for over 900 veterans; and
WHEREAS, The cemetery is a national sanctuary and should be maintained to the highest standards in honor of the military heroes who are buried there; and
WHEREAS, The Navy was forced to close the Mare Island facility under the United States government’s Base Realignment and Closure program in 1996 and deeded portions of Mare Island’s physical property and facilities, including the Mare Island Naval Cemetery, to the City of Vallejo; and
WHEREAS, The Navy did not provide funds to maintain and provide for the perpetual care of the cemetery, and therefore the cemetery became the City of Vallejo’s responsibility; and
WHEREAS, The City of Vallejo has experienced significant financial difficulties and has been unable to maintain the cemetery to the standards expected of a facility where veterans are laid to rest, which has resulted in a continual deterioration of the site since 1996; and
WHEREAS, The South Napa earthquake added to the physical deterioration of the cemetery by knocking down some headstones and breaking others; and
WHEREAS, The National Park Service, in May 1975, listed Mare Island Naval Shipyard as a National Historic Landmark, and a park with hiking paths has been established at the western end of the island where the cemetery is located; and
WHEREAS, A petition has been created by veterans and concerned visitors with over 54,000 signatures, encouraging United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ownership and the restoration of the cemetery; and
WHEREAS, The City of Vallejo does not have the funds to restore the cemetery and has formally requested the federal government reassume ownership of the cemetery, without compensation to the city; and
WHEREAS, Representative Mike Thompson has introduced legislation (H.R. 5588) in the United States House of Representatives that will direct the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs to seek an agreement with the City of Vallejo, under which the city would transfer control of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery to the VA; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to act favorably in regard to legislation to have the Mare Island Naval Cemetery transferred to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and that the National Cemetery Administration restore the cemetery to national cemetery standards and provide for perpetual care of the facility as dictated by those standards; and be it further
Resolved, That the National Cemetery Administration provide continuing care for those interned in the cemetery, including those who are not veterans or eligible family members; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.