Commander Dave Rogers attended the Dept of NY State Convention.
During the convention he attended the Legislative Committee, where they talked about the legislative issues before VFW.
VFW Veteran Service Officer Funding:
The VFW has requested continued funding for the highly effective Veterans Service Officer program. In 2018 funding of up to 125,000.00 for the VFW was approved and more than 500,000.00 of back funding has been justified and is soon to be awarded to the VFW for Service Officer activities for the past six years. We will lobby to continue this 125,000.00 yearly.
PFC Joseph P. Dwyer- Peer to Peer Mentoring:
The VFW Strongly supports continued funding for the highly regarded Dwyer Program and supports additional grant funding routed through the Division of Veterans Affairs of one million dollars for veteran to veteran services. In 2018 funding of 500,000 was approved and will be available for all Posts to apply for approximately 30,000.00 in accordance with DVA requirements published on their website.
Division of Veterans Affairs -RFP Enabled funding for VSO’s:
The VFW supports continued direct funding for VSO’s of Congressional recognized Veterans Service Organizations such as the VFW and DAV and lauds the newly appropriated funding to develop a two-year RFP within the Division of Veterans Affairs for the recognized veteran service organizations to apply for funding for additional veteran service officers and peer to peer counseling. In 2018 500,000 was approved.
Dwyer Peer to Peer Certification Program:
To encourage this career path, we are asking the legislature and the Governor to examine existing resources within the Division of Veterans Affairs, Office of Court Administration, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse to create an optional registration/accreditation track for veteran mentors in and out of the court system.
Veterans Defense Program:
The VFW is grateful that the legislature and Governor have a Veteran Focus and provide funding directed to the Veterans Defense Program. For the past three budget cycles, appropriations have provided highly successful defense counseling for veterans who get in serious trouble with the law as a result of service related stressors. The VDP creates hope for veterans and was instrumental in interfacing with veterans who have crossed paths with the law at the felony level. While Veteran Treatment Courts are expanding in all areas of the state, that focus is largely on misdemeanors. The VFW, deems the Veterans Defense Program essential in taking up where VTC leaves off as service related stressors do not distinguish between felony and misdemeanor.
Educational Funding for Veterans Defense Program:
We support additional funding for VDP initiatives including a Veterans Defense Practice Manual, Veteran Mitigation Specialist Training, a convening of Veterans Treatment Court defense attorneys and full-time specialists to assist in their already overburdened caseload.
Section 55-c Program amended to encourage Governor’s Executive Privilege:
The VFW supported a legislative initiative to amend the civil service law creating a new section (55d) which mandates rather than leave optional a requirement that the Civil Service Commission create up to 500 additional civil service positions for disabled veterans. In reviewing the mandate approach to this disability issue the VFW supports the law remaining permissive but requests a provision requiring the State Agencies to report to the Governor and/ or the Legislature on efforts to fill these vacancies within a reasonable timeframe.
Active Duty Service-Members Property Tax Exemption:
This legislation amends the real property tax law to redefine an active duty member of the military thereby broadening the application of the permissive property tax exemption currently given veterans honorably discharged. The VFW seeks an amended approach to create a separate section of law extending a similar permissive property tax exemption to those on active duty. The objective of this bill is to encourage active duty service members to stay in New York upon retirement and to assist them while they serve. This bill passed the Senate, has not seen movement in the Assembly.
Commander Rogers also had a chance to address the Convention and talk about the issues facing the next generation of veterans which the VFW is looking to approach for membership. He talked about the need to make some changes, while understanding that change is not always easy, but also about mentoring veterans today for the leadership of tomorrow.
The Commander attended the State Commanders Dinner, a BBQ at the Albany Post, and networked with comrades from different districts on working together and building programs to help veterans.