For the better part of the last two years, California state law makers have been pushing to get AB 935 enacted. On August 25, 2014, AB 935 passed in the California State Senate by a vote of 32-0. The bill is just waiting on Governor Jerry Brown to sign it into law. The support of Veterans and advocacy groups is crucial now to let the governor how important this bill is to the Veterans of California.
AB 935 is a measure that would give Veterans the option to have the word “VETERAN” on the face of their CA state driver’s license or ID card. Approving the bill would require the California Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV) to work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers. In a joint mission, they would need to formulate an efficient method to accurately verify a Veteran’s military service, for the purpose of putting the designation on their ID card. The Veteran designation would be voluntary, and include a one-time fee, not to exceed $15, to cover the cost of the verification process. While applying for their new driver’s licenses or renewals with the Veteran designation, Veterans would also be given the option to have their name and address sent to the VA, so that California Veterans could receive notifications and benefits information from the VA.
California Veterans may be losing out on $400 million in federal benefits because so many Veterans aren’t aware that the benefits exist, or that they were eligible for them. If signed into law, AB 935 could lead to an increase of up to $750 million per year in federal Veterans benefits to California’s Veterans.
Having the “VETERAN” designation will also serve to help Veterans prove their service to retailors who offer discounts. Most stores and restaurants in California only offer discounts to active duty personnel because they are in possession of a Military ID, and can prove their affiliation. Unless they are retired or in the Reserves, most Veterans surrender their Military IDs when they separate.
All California Veterans and supporters are being asked to contact Governor Brown’s office to inform him that you want him to support AB 935. The best way to contact the governor is by email at https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php. Be sure to select AB 935 in the dropdown menu for “Please Choose Your Subject.” The following template is provided to make it easier:
My name is __________. I am a California Veteran who strongly supports AB 935 which will allow for a “VETERAN” designation on the CA driver’s license.
Over 47 other states and Puerto Rico already have provisions for a Veterans license and it is time for California to make this available to its Veterans.
This bill will assist California’s Veterans learn what federal benefits they may be eligible for.
While email is preferred, suporters of AB 935 can also phone the governor’s office at (916)-445-2841, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, M-F.
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Military Connection: CA “VETERAN” Driver’s License: By Debbie Gregory