Introduced Version House Bill 4145 History

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H. B. 4145

(By Delegates Iaquinta, Fleischauer, Eldridge and D. Walker )

[Introduced January 20, 2010; referred to the

Committee on Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security then Education.]

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18B-4-9, relating to providing services and facilities to assist student veterans at state institutions of higher education.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18B-4-9, to read as follows:


§18B-4-9. Development of services and facilities for student veterans.

Legislative findings. -- The Legislature finds that veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States that attend our state's institutions of higher education have many unique needs, issues and concerns that most traditional students do not have. Student veterans that are returning to fulfill their needs for higher education who have been or may, during their pursuit of higher education, be deployed to active duty in many instances face unique issues and concerns that are unprecedented and unique to the current generation of veterans of the post 911 era of service in the Armed Forces. Many of these veterans have had or will be subject to multiple deployments to active duty, including overseas deployment, resulting in many unique issues and challenges for those veterans in their pursuit of higher education. It is the intent of the Legislature that state institutions of higher education provide adequate services and facilities to better serve the unique issues and needs facing the increasing number of these student veterans and to make West Virginia's institutions of higher education "veteran friendly".
(b) The Commission and the Council shall establish and implement measures in state institutions of higher education within each of their respective jurisdictions to assure that veterans attending those institutions receive services and are provided facilities to these student veterans in the pursuit of their education and the award of a degree and to make these institutions "veteran friendly" by actively and effectively providing academic and social support and assistance to student veterans, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) Establish "veteran friendly" community and technical college degree programs which recognize and award academic credit toward degrees for various types of technical and vocational military training and experience;
(2) Develop programs to facilitate veteran students in the sharing of their unique knowledge and experience in the military through public school programs and local community organizations;
(3) Establish and sponsor an organization for student veterans on campus and encourage other "veteran friendly" organizations;
(4) Appoint and train specific faculty within each degree program or major as liaisons and contacts for student veterans;
(5) Develop state policies for all institutions of higher education for evaluation of academic credit for student veteran experiences;
(6) Establish a program to provide information about the Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree program to student veterans and potential student veterans;
(7) Coordinate existing disability services on campus with veteran disability services available from the Veterans Administration, other federal and state agencies and from private resources;
(8) Provide counselors on each campus trained to effectively respond to unique needs of veterans and to provide services or provide referrals to services to fulfill these needs for student veterans and develop training materials available for continued professional development to respond to student veteran needs;
(9) Facilitate regular statewide meetings for all personnel at state institutions of higher education who regularly provide specific services to student veterans to discuss and develop "best practices," exchange ideas and experiences and hear presentations by presenters with generally accepted expertise in areas of the various needs of student veterans;
(10) Establish a policy or procedure to periodically appraise appropriate state and federal agencies of the status of student veterans in West Virginia;
(11) Establish a program to create a corroborative relationship between student veterans with alumni of the institution and with prospective employers to facilitate and provide employment as well as social opportunities to graduating student veterans; and
(12) Develop and facilitate communications between state institutions of higher education and various veteran organizations in the state to advance veteran causes that benefit student veterans.
(c) The commission and the counsel shall jointly submit an annual report to the Legislature on September 1
of each year on the progress toward implementing the provisions of this section.

The purpose of this bill is to provide services and facilities to assist student veterans at state institutions of higher education. The bill substantially adopts the recent recommendations of the Veterans Initiative Task Force, which was appointed by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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