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Advocacy/Legislation

SD Congressional Visit to Washington, DC

North Central Chapter GRD Terry Paulsen

Government Relations Director Terry Paulsen and his wife Tricia recently attended the 2020 Advocacy & Legislative Seminar in Washington DC on 02-05 March 2020. The top priorities for the 2018 seminar included: Improvements to the Specially Adapted Housing Program, Improving Access to Adapted Automobiles, VA’s Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, and the Protection of Specialized Services.
Congressional visits were held with Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, Senator Cramer and Senator Hoeven. North Central Chapter PVA Legislative Program works closely with our National PVA Staff, PVA members, and Congressional Delegation from throughout the Region on issues affecting veterans and the disabled community. North Central Chapter’s mission is to ensure that all veterans receive quality health care and timely access to VA Medical Centers and VA Clinics. NCCPVA works closely with local, county, state, and national policy makers in support of legislation to benefit veterans and other disabled individuals.

Gov Daugaard signs Veterans Cemetery Bill

Gov. Dennis Daugaard today signed Senate Bill 91 to establish a new state veterans cemetery in East River South Dakota. The law authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide for the design and construction of a cemetery in Minnehaha County on land donated by the City of Sioux Falls.

“This new veterans cemetery will give veterans a final resting place close to their homes and families,” said Gov. Daugaard. “This cemetery has been a longstanding goal of veterans organizations, and I am pleased to see it come to fruition.”

The legislation creates the South Dakota Veterans Cemetery endowment fund within the South Dakota Community Foundation. The endowment fund will provide a fund for any person who wishes to contribute to the construction and operation of the South Dakota State Veterans Cemetery. The foundation’s goal is to reach $3 million by July 2023.

In addition, the state has appropriated $450,000 from the general fund and $6 million in federal fund expenditure authority to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the purpose of creating the cemetery.

Senate Bill 91 contains an emergency clause, making the law effective immediately.

2018 Advocacy / Legislative Seminar Washington DC

Government Relations Director Terry Paulsen recently attended the 2018 Advocacy & Legislative Seminar in Washington DC on 05-08 March 2018. The top priorities for the 2018 seminar included: The Air Carrier Access Act, Expanded Eligibility for VA Caregiver Support Services and the Protection of Specialized Services.

Congressional visits were held with Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, Senator Heitkamp and Congresswoman Noem. North Central Chapter PVA Legislative Program works closely with our National PVA Staff, PVA members, and Congressional Delegation from throughout the Region on issues affecting veterans and the disabled community. North Central Chapter’s mission is to ensure that all veterans receive quality health care and timely access to VA Medical Centers and VA Clinics. NCCPVA works closely with local, county, state, and national policy makers in support of legislation to benefit veterans and other disabled individuals.

2017 Legislative / Advocacy Seminar, Washington DC

Terry Paulsen met with Senator Thune during the PVA Advocacy/Legislative Seminar in March 2017 to discuss important issues pertaining to our veterans.
North Central Chapter PVA Legislative Program works closely with our National PVA Staff, PVA members, and Congressional Delegation from throughout the Region on issues affecting veterans and the disabled community. North Central Chapter’s mission is to ensure that all veterans receive quality health care and timely access to VA Medical Centers and VA Clinics. We work closely with local, county, state, and national policy makers in support of legislation to benefit veterans and other disabled individuals.

SD Congressional Visit

SD Congressional Visit

Terry Paulsen met with Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Congresswoman Noem during the PVA Advocacy/Legislative Seminar in March 2016 to discuss important issues pertaining to our veterans.
North Central Chapter PVA Legislative Program works closely with our National PVA Staff, PVA members, and Congressional Delegation from throughout the Region on issues affecting veterans and the disabled community. North Central Chapter’s mission is to ensure that all veterans receive quality health care and timely access to VA Medical Centers and VA Clinics. We work closely with local, county, state, and national policy makers in support of legislation to benefit veterans and other disabled individuals.

Governor Daugaard Signs HB 1179

Governor Daugaard Signs HB 1179

Governor Daugaard signed House Bill 1179 into law on Monday, March 30th 2015. HB 1179 redefines the definition of a South Dakota veteran to include the National Guard and Reserves. The new law reads as follows:
AN ACT ENTITLED,
An Act to revise the definition of a veteran.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That § 33A-2-1 be amended to read as follows:
33A-2-1. For the purposes of all statutes relating to rights, privileges, ceremonial recognition,
exemptions, and benefits (except a state bonus) of veterans and their dependents, the term, veteran,
means any person who:
(1) Has served the full obligation for Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard service in the
military, or received an early discharge for a medical condition, hardship, reduction in
force, or at the convenience of the military; and
(2) Has been separated or discharged from such service honorably or under honorable
conditions.
For purposes of this section, the term, benefits, includes veterans designation on a driver license
or identification card, veterans license plates, veterans job preference, and burial benefits pursuant
to §§ 33A-5-2 and 33A-5-3.
The Paralyzed Veterans of America North Central Chapter initiated the proposed definition and was the leading advocate in getting the new law enacted.
Those pictured from left to right advocated in support of House Bill 1179. Representative Roger solum, Representative Matthew Wollmann, Governor Dennis Daugaard, Senator Dan Lederman, Secretary Larry Zimmerman, Government Relations Director Terry Paulsen, and President Mike Olson.

Jason Simcakoski Promise Act

There is legislation moving in Congress that would change how VA medical centers handle patient pain management and prescription pain killer distribution. The bill is called the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, in honor of the Stevens Point veteran that died after receiving a toxic cocktail of pain medications through the Tomah VA Medical Center a year ago.
The legislation is getting support from Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate. Representative Ron Kind of La Crosse says the investigations centered around the Tomah VA have led to this piece of legislation. "We're trying to keep the focus on the quality and outcome of care that all of our veterans need and deserve, and through that, through better education, better "best practices" and more training, more resources, hopefully we can start getting a grip on this opiate over-prescription problem and overall pain management problem that we have in the VA system, and quite frankly, throughout the entire health care system."
America may not be at war right now, but Kind says we still have many veterans that have returned home and many more veterans coming back in the next several months, and America needs to keep its promise to take care of them. "Two million of our veterans now coming home from deployments in Iraq, & Afghanistan. Most of them are bringing home with them a lot of physical and mental needs. Some care and attention (is needed), that our nation needs to step up and address. We've got to do this in a bipartisan fashion, and just keep the focus on the best possible care and treatment for all of our veterans."
The Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act has companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. Both bills are in committee now. The legislation also has the support of veterans groups including the Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
The Veterans Administration in Tomah just released it's 100-Day Plan Friday, which is their next step in making improvements at the local health campuses. Since the investigation began, there have been some meetings to get input from staff and the community. Kind is glad to hear more of these meetings are coming up. "I applaud the VA for reaching out to the community and getting feedback on a pretty regular basis, and that, too, is going to lead to the improvement and what needs to occur."
Kind's bill focuses on updating pain management guidelines, strengthening provider education and training, improving patient advocacy, and authorizing a new commission to examine alternative treatments.
There is also a Senate bill introduced by Illinois Republican Mark Kirk called the VA Patient Protection Act. It is designed to force the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to address reports of abuse of veteran patients and to punish VA managers who ignore, intimidate and retaliate against whistleblowers. Both of Wisconsin's Senators, Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, have signed on to that bill.

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