Morrell Legislation to Assist Veterans and Active Duty Service Members Moves to State Assembly

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SACRAMENTO - Two bills authored by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) – one to help active duty college students and another to keep Veterans Halls solvent – have passed out of the Senate on bipartisan and unanimous votes and now await review in the State Assembly.

Senate Bill 418 would extend readmission rights for active duty military students from two to five years in the California State University System. Readmission guarantees a student can continue at the institution where he or she has already been studying after an approved absence.  This would aid students serving in the Armed Forces in obtaining their degrees in a timely manner while also serving their country.

“CSU students who take on the added role of defending our nation while pursuing their studies should have every advantage in completing their degrees,” said Morrell. “I’m pleased that SB 418 is now in the Assembly and look forward to working with the members of that house to get it through to the governor’s desk.”

Senate Bill 2, by lead authors Senator Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) and Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), would preserve property tax exemptions for Veterans Halls so that they can continue to provide high quality and important services to those who have served in the military, even if they rent out their property at a fee. Under current statute, renting out a Veterans Hall for a fee would remove part of their tax exempt status. These uses include renting out their hall for social gatherings such as weddings. Most Veterans Halls operate at a deficit and rely on these functions to keep their doors open to veterans. This bill would close the loophole in tax law and allow Veterans Halls to keep their property tax exemption regardless of the use of the property. Morrell is a principal coauthor of SB 2.

“Veterans Halls serve as community centers throughout our state, but like all buildings, they require maintenance and financial resources to stay up and running,” continued Morrell. “SB 2 helps ensure that the veterans groups who take responsibility for these halls are able to continue doing so and offer them as locations for local meetings and gatherings. Our American heroes deserve no less.”

Both measures are pending in the State Assembly. All legislation for the year has until September 11 to be passed to the governor for consideration.