Senate File 444 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to matters under the purview of the department
2of veterans affairs, including county commissions of veteran
3affairs and cemetery expenditures.
4BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  Section 35.1, subsection 2, Code 2023, is amended
2by striking the subsection and inserting in lieu thereof the
3following:
   42.  “Veteran” means a resident of this state who is any of
5the following:
   6a.  A veteran as defined in 38 C.F.R.§3.1, as amended.
   7b.  A former member of the reserve forces of the United
8States who served at least twenty years in the reserve forces
9and who was discharged under honorable conditions. However,
10a member of the reserve forces of the United States who
11completed a minimum aggregate of ninety days of federal active
12duty, other than training, and was discharged under honorable
13conditions, or was retired under Tit.10 of the United States
14Code shall be included as a veteran.
   15c.  A former member of the Iowa national guard who served
16at least twenty years in the Iowa national guard and who was
17discharged under honorable conditions. However, a member of
18the Iowa national guard who was activated for federal duty,
19other than training, for a minimum aggregate of ninety days,
20and was discharged under honorable conditions or was retired
21under Tit.10 of the United States Code shall be included as a
22veteran.
   23d.  A member of the reserve forces of the United States who
24has served at least twenty years in the reserve forces and who
25continues to serve in the reserve forces.
   26e.  A member of the Iowa national guard who has served at
27least twenty years in the Iowa national guard and who continues
28to serve in the Iowa national guard.
29   Sec. 2.  Section 35.2, unnumbered paragraph 1, Code 2023, is
30amended to read as follows:
   31In order to fulfill any eligibility requirements under
32Iowa law pertaining to veteran status, a veteran described in
33section 35.1, subsection 2, paragraph “b”, subparagraph (6) or
34(7)
 “d” or “e”, shall submit the veteran’s retirement points
35accounting statement issued by the armed forces of the United
-1-1States, the state adjutant general, or the adjutant general
2of any other state, to confirm that the person has completed
3twenty years of service with the reserve forces or the national
4guard.
5   Sec. 3.  Section 35A.3, subsection 7, Code 2023, is amended
6by striking the subsection.
7   Sec. 4.  Section 35A.5, subsection 6, Code 2023, is amended
8to read as follows:
   96.  a.  Conduct Administer or conduct one service school
10each year for county commissioners and one service school for
11executive directors and administrators. The service school for
12executive directors and administrators shall provide at least
13sixteen continuing education units.

   14b.  (1)  The department may receive and accept donations,
15grants, gifts, and contributions from any public or private
16source to be used for any of the following purposes:
   17(a)  Providing payment for training opportunities under
18paragraph “a”.
   19(b)  Organizing training relating to state programs for
20county commission of veteran affairs executive directors,
21administrators, and commissioners.
   22(c)  Hiring an agency, organization, or other entity to
23provide training or educational programming.
   24(d)  Reimbursing county commission of veteran affairs
25executive directors, administrators, and commissioners for
26transportation costs related to a conference, program, or both.
   27(e)  Verifying a person’s qualifications pursuant to section
2835A.5, subsection 9.
   29(2)  All funds received by the department for the purposes
30established in subparagraph (1) shall be deposited in
31the county commission of veteran affairs training account
32established in section 35A.16, subsection 4.
33   Sec. 5.  Section 35A.5, subsection 9, Code 2023, is amended
34by striking the subsection and inserting in lieu thereof the
35following:
-2-   19.  Verify each executive director, administrator, and
2commissioner of a county commission of veteran affairs is fully
3qualified to work in the person’s position. Qualifications
4shall include but not be limited to all of the following:
   5a.  The person has obtained certification that is federally
6required for the member, executive director, or administrator’s
7position within twelve months of beginning the person’s
8employment.
   9b.  The person has obtained a personal identification
10verification card necessary to access the veterans benefits
11management system within twelve months of beginning the
12person’s employment.
   13c.  The person maintains certification that is federally
14required for the member, executive director, or administrator’s
15position.
   16d.  The person maintains an active personal identification
17verification card and has access to the veterans benefits
18management system.
   19e.  For executive directors and administrators, the person
20is proficient in the use of electronic mail, general computer
21use, and use of the internet to access information regarding
22facilities, benefits, and services available to veterans and
23their families.
24   Sec. 6.  Section 35A.13, subsection 3, Code 2023, is amended
25to read as follows:
   263.  Moneys credited to the trust fund shall not be
27transferred, used, obligated, appropriated, or otherwise
28encumbered, except as provided in this section. Moneys in the
29trust fund may also be used for cemetery grant development
30purposes provided that any moneys so allocated, except
31for moneys used for department of administrative services
32expenditures related to the grant, are returned to the trust
33fund upon receipt of federal funds received for such purposes.

34   Sec. 7.  Section 35A.16, subsection 3, paragraph a, Code
352023, is amended to read as follows:
-3-   1a.  If sufficient moneys are available, the department
2shall annually allocate ten thousand dollars to each county
3commission of veteran affairs, or to each county sharing the
4services of an executive director or administrator pursuant
5to chapter 28E, to be used to provide services to veterans
6pursuant to section 35B.6 and provide for and maintain
7accreditation in accordance with the policies and procedures of
8the United States department of veterans affairs
. Each county
9receiving an allocation shall annually report on expenditure of
10the allocation in a form agreed to by the department and county
11representatives.
12   Sec. 8.  Section 35A.16, subsection 4, Code 2023, is amended
13to read as follows:
   144.  A county commission of veteran affairs training program
15account shall be established within the county commissions
16of veteran affairs fund. Any moneys remaining in the fund
17after the allocations under subsection 3 shall be credited
18to the account and used by the department to fund the county
19commission of veteran affairs training program under section
2035A.17 35A.5, subsection 6, and training for department
21personnel.
22   Sec. 9.  Section 35B.3, Code 2023, is amended to read as
23follows:
   2435B.3  County commission of veteran affairs.
   25The county commission of veteran affairs shall consist
26of either three or five persons, as determined by the board
27of supervisors, all of whom shall be veterans as defined in
28section 35.1. If possible, each member of the commission shall
29be a veteran of a different military action branch. However,
30this qualification does not preclude membership to a veteran
31who served in more than one branch of the military actions.
32   Sec. 10.  Section 35B.6, subsection 1, paragraph c, Code
332023, is amended to read as follows:
   34c.  (1)  Upon the employment of an executive director or
35administrator, the executive director or administrator shall
-4-1complete a course of for the purpose of obtaining certification
2training provided by the department of veterans affairs
3pursuant to section 35A.5
 federally required for the person’s
4position and a personal identification verification card
5necessary to access the veterans benefits management system
.
6If an executive director or administrator fails to obtain
7certification or a personal identification verification card
8 within one year of being employed, the executive director or
9administrator shall be removed from office. The department
10shall issue the executive director or administrator a
11certificate of training after completion of the certification
12training course. To maintain certification, the

   13(2)   Anexecutive director or administrator shall satisfy
14the continuing education requirements established by the
15national association of county veterans service officers and
16the United States department of veterans affairs
. Failure
17of an executive director or administrator to maintain
18certification shall be cause for removal from office. The
19expenses of training the executive director or administrator
20shall be paid from the appropriation authorized in section
2135B.14.
   22(3)  An executive director or administrator shall satisfy
23the continuing education requirements necessary to maintain an
24active personal identification verification card and access
25to the veterans benefits management system. Failure of an
26executive director or administrator to maintain certification
27and access to the veterans benefits management system shall be
28cause for removal from office.
29   Sec. 11.  Section 35B.14, subsection 4, Code 2023, is amended
30to read as follows:
   314.  Burial expenses shall be paid by the county in which
32the person died resided. If the person is a resident of a
33different county at the time of death, the county of residence
34shall reimburse the county where the person died for the cost
35of burial. In either case, the
 The county board of supervisors
-5-1of the respective counties shall audit and pay the account from
2the funds provided for in this chapter in the manner as other
3claims are audited and paid.
4   Sec. 12.  Section 426A.12, Code 2023, is amended to read as
5follows:
   6426A.12  Exemptions to relatives.
   71.  In case any person in the foregoing classifications does
8not claim the exemption from taxation, it shall be allowed in
9the name of the person to the same extent on the property of any
10one of the following persons in the order named:
   11a.  The spouse, or surviving spouse remaining unmarried,
12of a veteran, as defined in this chapter or in section 35.1,
13subsection 2, paragraph “a” or “b”, where they are living
14together or were living together at the time of the death of
15the veteran.
   16b.  The parent whose spouse is deceased and who remains
17unmarried, of a veteran, as defined in this chapter or in
18section 35.1, subsection 2, paragraph “a” or “b”, whether living
19or deceased, where the parent is, or was at the time of death of
20the veteran, dependent on the veteran for support.
   21c.  The minor child, or children owning property as tenants
22in common, of a deceased veteran, as defined in this chapter or
23in section 35.1, subsection 2, paragraph “a” or “b”.
   242.  No more than one tax exemption shall be allowed under
25this section or section 426A.11 in the name of a veteran,
26as defined in this chapter or in section 35.1, subsection 2,
27paragraph “a” or “b”
.
28   Sec. 13.  Section 426A.13, subsections 1 and 2, Code 2023,
29are amended to read as follows:
   301.  A person named in section 426A.11, who is a resident of
31and domiciled in the state of Iowa, shall receive a reduction
32equal to the exemption, to be made from any property owned
33by the person or owned by a family farm corporation of which
34the person is a shareholder and occupant of the property and
35so designated by proceeding as provided in this section. To
-6-1be eligible to receive the exemption, the person claiming it
2shall have recorded in the office of the county recorder of
3the county in which is located the property designated for the
4exemption, evidence of property ownership by that person or the
5family farm corporation of which the person is a shareholder
6and the military certificate of satisfactory service, order
7transferring to inactive status, reserve, retirement, order of
8separation from service, honorable discharge or a copy of any
9of these documents of the person claiming or through whom is
10claimed the exemption. In the case of a person claiming the
11exemption as a veteran described in section 35.1, subsection 2,
12paragraph “b”, subparagraph (6) or (7) “d” or “e”, the person
13shall file the statement required by section 35.2.
   142.  The person shall file with the appropriate assessor on
15forms obtained from the assessor the claim for exemption for
16the year for which the person is first claiming the exemption.
17The claim shall be filed not later than July 1 of the year
18for which the person is claiming the exemption. The claim
19shall set out the fact that the person is a resident of and
20domiciled in the state of Iowa, and a person within the terms
21of section 426A.11, and shall give the volume and page on which
22the certificate of satisfactory service, order of separation,
23retirement, furlough to reserve, inactive status, or honorable
24discharge or certified copy thereof is recorded in the office
25of the county recorder, and may include the designation of the
26property from which the exemption is to be made, and shall
27further state that the claimant is the equitable or legal owner
28of the property designated or if the property is owned by a
29family farm corporation, that the person is a shareholder of
30that corporation and that the person occupies the property.
31In the case of a person claiming the exemption as a veteran
32described in section 35.1, subsection 2, paragraph “b”,
33subparagraph (6) or (7)
 “d” or “e”, the person shall file the
34statement required by section 35.2.
35   Sec. 14.  REPEAL.  Sections 35A.17 and 35B.17, Code 2023,
-7-1are repealed.
2EXPLANATION
3The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
4the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   5This bill relates to matters under the purview of the
6department of veterans affairs, including county commissions of
7veteran affairs (CCVA) and cemetery expenditures.
   8The bill redefines a “veteran” for the purposes of Code
9chapter 35 (veterans affairs) as a resident of this state who
10meets the definition of a veteran as defined in 38 C.F.R.§3.1,
11as amended.
   12The bill replaces the department of veterans affairs’
13(VA) duty to conduct a service school each year for county
14commissioners, executive directors, and administrators with the
15duty to administer or conduct one service school each year for
16county commissioners, executive directors, and administrators.
   17The bill removes continuing education requirements
18associated with the annual service school provided for county
19commissioners, executive directors, and administrators.
   20The bill allows the department to receive and accept
21donations, grants, gifts, and contributions from any public or
22private source to be used for providing payment for training
23opportunities to CCVA commissioners, executive directors,
24and administrators; organizing training relating to state
25programs for CCVA executive directors, administrators, and
26commissioners; hiring an agency, organization, or other entity
27to provide training or educational programming; reimbursing
28CCVA executive directors, administrators, and commissioners
29for transportation costs related to a conference, program, or
30both; and verifying a person’s qualifications to work as a CCVA
31commissioner, executive director, or administrator. The bill
32requires that all funds received by the VA for these purposes
33must be deposited in the CCVA training account.
   34The bill replaces the VA’s duty to provide certification
35training to executive directors and administrators of CCVA with
-8-1the duty to verify each executive director, administrator,
2and commissioner of a CCVA is fully qualified to work in
3the person’s position. Such qualifications include but are
4not limited to obtaining certification that is federally
5required for the member, executive director, or administrator’s
6position within 12 months of beginning the person’s employment;
7obtaining a personal identification verification card necessary
8to access VBMS within 12 months of beginning the person’s
9employment; maintaining certification that is federally
10required for the member, executive director, or administrator’s
11position; maintaining an active personal identification
12verification card and has access to VBMS; having proficiency
13in the use of electronic mail, general computer use, and use
14of the internet to access information regarding facilities,
15benefits, and services available to veterans and their families
16if the person is an executive director or administrator.
   17The bill prohibits moneys in the veterans trust fund from
18being used for cemetery grant development purposes.
   19The bill makes a nonsubstantive terminology change in Code
20section 35B.3.
   21The bill requires a CCVA executive director or administrator
22to complete a course for the purpose of obtaining certification
23federally required for the person’s position and a personal
24identification verification (PIV) card necessary to access
25VBMS. If an executive director or administrator fails to
26obtain certification or a PIV card within one year of being
27employed, the executive director or administrator shall be
28removed from office. Under current law, the VA is required to
29provide the training and issue a certificate of completion.
   30The bill requires an executive director or administrator
31to satisfy the continuing education requirements established
32by the United States department of veterans affairs and the
33requirements necessary to maintain an active PIV card and
34access to the VBMS. Failure of an executive director or
35administrator to maintain certification and access to VBMS
-9-1shall be cause for removal from office.
   2The bill requires funeral expenses for a veteran or a
3veteran’s spouse, surviving spouse, or child be paid by the
4county in which the person resided if the veteran died without
5leaving sufficient means to pay funeral expenses.
   6The bill makes conforming changes to Code sections 35A.3;
735A.16, subsection 4; 35B.14, subsection 1; 426A.12; and
8426A.13.
   9The bill repeals Code sections 35A.17 (county commission of
10veteran affairs training program) and 35B.17 (maintenance of
11graves).
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