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Veterans, lawmakers meet
by Jessica Carner
Jan 09, 2011 | 3225 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - Laurie Gruen and other veterans discussed their state legislative agenda on Saturday at John Ascuaga's Nugget. A top priority is to help returning veterans find jobs and housing said Jeff Gundersen, American Legion Post 1 Commander.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Laurie Gruen and other veterans discussed their state legislative agenda on Saturday at John Ascuaga's Nugget. A top priority is to help returning veterans find jobs and housing said Jeff Gundersen, American Legion Post 1 Commander.
SPARKS — Nevada veterans, advocates and legislators came together at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Saturday to talk about proposed legislation and budget issues in preparation for the 2011 legislative session.

The Nevada Office of Veterans Services has organized the Nevada Veterans Legislative Summit for the past four years to educate veterans advocates on effective methods of communicating with lawmakers, and to give advocates a chance to meet legislators face to face.

Kate Marshall, state treasurer, told summit attendees Saturday the upcoming legislative session is going to be a rough one.

“I don’t think I have to tell you just how bad the financial woes are,” Marshall said.

“Shared sacrifice,” she said, is a way to reduce the budgetary burdens all branches of government are faced with.

“Don’t try to divide it between federal, state and local,” Marshall said. “We should seek to lower that burden for everyone. It’s a sacrifice we share.”

Veterans advocates have a critical job to do this session, she said.

“Make sure the veterans voices are heard,” Marshall said, adding that it is important to remind legislators of the sacrifices veterans have made for this state and nation.

NOVS Executive Director Caleb Cage urged advocates to introduce themselves to elected officials during the summit. Sens. Sheila Leslie and Don Gustavson, Assemblymen Richard “Skip” Daly and Elliot Anderson, along with representatives from Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign’s offices were in attendance Saturday.

Legislative issues discussed Saturday included:

• Protecting voting privileges of armed forces: Ballot initiatives to modify voting methods

• Accurately understanding the demographics of Nevada’s veterans

• Standardizing the term “veteran” within the NRS with respect to character of discharge and period of service

• Establishing and increasing training for Nevada’s volunteer service officers

• Employment issues for veterans

• Supporting goals of NOVS in the 2011 legislative session

• Reducing out-of-state tuition for veterans

• Mandating that funeral homes report unclaimed veterans remains to the state

• Allowing the Veterans Services Commission to advise the governor on the appointment of the NOVS executive director and deputy executive director

• Creating a disabled veterans/armed forces license plate

• Funding for a full-time women veterans coordinator position (7 percent of Nevada’s veterans are female)

• Creating ID cards for homeless veterans for a small fee

• Automatically restoring voting rights to honorably discharged veterans who have completed their sentences

• Prohibiting custody transfers while service members are deployed

• Establishing a transition program for Nevada National Guardsmen returning from deployments

Cage said veterans are facing challenges in 2011, and the budget deficit in the state is the biggest. He said although budget funds are low, NOVS plans to keep its doors open and improve the level of service provided to veterans.

More than 339,000 veterans live in Nevada, which means one in eight Nevada residents has served in the military. That ratio is 50 percent higher than the national average, according to Jay Hansen, legislative director of the Building Trades Council.

The Nevada Office of Veterans Services has been in operation for more than 65 years and is “dedicated to helping Nevada veterans get the services, benefits and quality of life they deserve,” the organization’s website states. “(Veterans) rely on us to not only understand their lives, but to help them get a better quality of life. We do everything we can to show our American heroes the same amount of respect, empathy, gratitude and service that they have shown us.”
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January 09, 2011
AT the NEWS ROOM - For: Mrs. Jessica "C" - COULD YOU pls phone me @ the Veterans Training Center - last four numbers = '1200' in a warm office! *** PURPOSE = How may I make contact with American Legion / Post #1 for possible membership transfer & assists 'lobbying' for veterans at the NV State Legislature? During Calendar Years 2008 & 2009 I was a 'card carrying member' of Post #322 at the U.S. Vets Residence Hall in Inglewood, CA while a VA homeless outreach worker in West LA, CA! Later an appointed member )1990='91) of the CA State Senate "Commission on Homeless Veterans" in Sacramento. - 30- "HAPPY NEW YEAR"! ;-)
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