Call to Order and Roll Call
The2nd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, July 14, 2011, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Tanya Pullin, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Vernie McGaha, Dennis Parrett, Joey Pendleton, Kathy W. Stein, Katie Kratz Stine, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Tom Burch, Dwight D. Butler, Mike Cherry, Larry Clark, Tim Couch, Myron Dossett, Bill Farmer, David Floyd, Martha Jane King, Jimmie Lee, Terry Mills, Tim Moore, Rick G. Nelson, Fred Nesler, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, John Tilley, and Ben Waide.
Guests: Ken Lucas, Commissioner, Allen Workman, Internal Policy Analyst, Jeff Acob, Cemeteries Manager, Kentucky Department of Veteransí Affairs; Larry Bond, Deputy Chief of Staff, Governorís Office; Dave Jarrett, Chairman, Carlos Pugh, Legislative Liaison, Don Dixon, Marine Corp League, Doug Farley, American Legion Representative, and Frank Konerman, AMVETS, Joint Executive Council of Veteran Organizations (JECVO).
LRC Staff: Erica Warren, Clint Newman II, Tiffany Opii, Robert Proudfoot, and Rhonda Schierer.
Senator Westwood moved to approve the July minutes. Representative Mills seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
††††††††††† Representative Nelson read a resolution in memory and honor of Representative Eddie Ballard. Representative Nelson moved to adopt the resolution, Representative Floyd seconded the motion, and the motion was adopted.
Kentucky Department of Veteransí Affairs: Update on the Veteransí Nursing Homes and Cemeteries
††††††††††† Ken Lucas, Commissioner, Jeff Acob, Cemeteries Manager, and Allen Workman, Internal Policy Analyst, Kentucky Department of Veteransí Affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation update on the veteransí nursing homes and cemeteries. The presentation is a part of this record located in the Legislative Research Commission Library. Because of increasing costs, Commissioner Lucas indicated that KDVA will request additional funding for the Veteran Burial Stipend program, which is currently funded at $100,000.
††††††††††† In response to a question from Representative Cherry, Commissioner Lucas stated that there is about $500,000 in the veteransí trust fund, and there are still a few things earmarked for distribution. There is a new license plate that anyone can buy to support veterans that will help with the fund.
††††††††††† In response to a question from Representative Lee, Mr. Workman stated that the new nursing home to be located in Hardin County has had an increase in cost due to VA building requirements. The cost is estimated at $38-40 million.
††††††††††† Representative Moore announced that the new Garrison Commander at Fort Knox is Col. Bruce Jenkins as of today.
††††††††††† 11/11/11 Initiative to Honor Veterans
Ken Lucas, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Veteransí Affairs, and Larry Bond, Deputy Chief of Staff, Governorís Office, briefed the committee on the details of the 11/11/11 Initiative to Honor Veterans. Mr. Bond introduced Ashley Parrott of the Governorís Office, who is assisting in coordinating the 11/11/11 initiative.
Commissioner Lucas pointed out that a job fair with the Louisville and Lexington Chambers of Commerce will be held this fall, that General Tonini has put together a United Service Organizations (USO) show to be held at the Louisville KFC Yum! Center with Montgomery Gentry for active duty families, and that the Military History Museum is reopening.
In response to a question from Representative Clark, Mr. Bond stated that Ford Motor Company will be hiring 1,100 new employees for job openings in the Louisville plant and that veterans will be given priority for the positions.
Joint Executive Council of Veteran Organizations: Update and Legislative Priorities
Dave Jarrett, Chairman, gave an update on JECVOís list of priorities for the 2012 session. The priorities are: full funding for KDVA; charitable gaming to include the use of pull tab dispensing machines and electronic video gaming devices at VSO halls; state identification cards for veterans because many vendors are now asking for photo identification; strengthening safe haven laws to the greatest extent possible for military and veteran funerals to prevent protestors from disrupting funerals and funeral processions; and a reduction in state property tax paid by veteran service organizations through a partial property tax exemption.
Other JECVO representatives attending for comment or questions were: Carlos Pugh, Legislative Officer, Don Dixon, Marine Corps League, Dough Farley, American Legion Department Commander 2011-2012, and Frank Konerman, AMVETS.
Co-Chair Pullin accepted an award on behalf of the committee for the committeeís service to veterans presented by Frank Konerman.
The committee learned that Jimmie Grizzle, former AMVETS state commander, had surgery and the members expressed concern and their desire to send him their wishes for a full and speedy recovery.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.