On July 1, 2009, the County Commission of Veterans Affairs bill will take effect. Pursuant to the bill passed in 2008 (SF 2134), and amended this year (HF 283), each county will be required to be open a minimum number of hours to provide services to veterans in their counties. The required number of hours is based on the population of the county as follows, and the hours are to be posted prominently outside of the office:
- 20 hours per week for counties with a population of 30,000 or less
- 30 hours per week for counties with a population between 30,001 and 60,000
- 40 hours per week for counties with a population of 60,001 or greater
The bill also states that employees are required to become accredited by the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO) by June 30, 2010, or within one year of being hired. An accreditation school will be held in Des Moines by NACVSO October 19 -23, 2009. Information will be available at NACVSO’s website at http://nacvso.org/?page_id=16.
An appropriation of $1.0 million was part of the legislation as well and was finally fully funded in House File 811. It is a standing appropriation that is to be used by the counties to help provide services to veterans by meeting the qualifications set forth in code section 35B.6, addressing administrative duties and training for County Veterans Services Offices.
SF 2134 was passed by the House and signed by the Governor last year. HF 283 was passed by the House February 18th and signed by the Governor February 26th of this year.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has sent a letter to each County Board of Supervisors, County Auditor and County Commission of Veterans Affairs in early June explaining the new law.