This task force was created in 2007 to address issues affecting military-community relations and the health and well-being of veterans. Among the issues covered: development near military installations; military-community partnerships to respond to mission change; veteran hiring and procurement preferences; mental health, substance abuse and family relationships facing returning veterans; and benefits for military personnel, veterans and their dependents. The task force consists of 59 state legislators and legislative staff from 27 states.
Tuesday | Aug. 19
NCSL Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs Convenes
Opening Remarks by Task Force Co-Chairs:
Representative Dan Flynn, Texas, and Senator Leticia Van de Putte, Texas
Pledge of Allegiance
Task force member discussion concerning key legislative issues and identify priorities for 2015.
State Services for Veterans
This session focused on Minnesota state programs to assist veterans struggling with homelessness and mental health issues, as well as community initiatives to support service members and their families during and after deployment.
Presiding: Representative Tim Cosgrove, Utah
- Eric Grumdahl, special adviser on Ending Veteran Homelessness, Minnesota PDF PRESENTATION
- Judge Kerry Meyer, Hennepin County Veterans Court
- Annette Kuyper, director of Military Outreach, Minnesota Department of Military Affairs PDF PRESENTATION
Innovative Land Use Strategies to Protect Military Bases - Case Study of Camp Ripley, Minnesota
Joint with NCSL Agriculture Task Force
Camp Ripley Presentation
Uncoordinated and incompatible development and urban sprawl are a growing threat to the nation’s military installations and local economies. In many states, the military is among the largest industries and employers and is directly responsible for the economic health of neighboring communities by generating a steady stream of revenue and jobs. Preventing incompatible land uses and protecting an installation’s ability to realistically train Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines is a way of avoiding putting the viability of that “mission” at risk.
Presiding: Representative Dan Flynn, Texas
Welcome: Senator Paul Gazelka and Senator Carrie Ruud, Minnesota
- Kristin Thomasgard, program director for Policy, Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment)
Q & A with Kristin Thomasgard
- Major General Richard C. Nash, adjutant general, Minnesota National Guard
- Tom Landwehr, commissioner, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- John Jaschke, executive director, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
- Dave Frederickson, commissioner, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
- Representative John Ward, Minnesota State Legislature
- Representative Ron Kresha, Minnesota State Legislature
Empowering Agency Response – Beating Backlogs and Helping Healthcare
Texas leaders have called upon the Texas Veterans Commission to help address crises that have arisen at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the last several years. Whether working to address an influx of claims related to Agent Orange exposure in 2009, helping to beat the VA backlog in Texas with the State Strike Force and Fully Developed Claims Teams since 2012, or now working on behalf of veterans encountering challenges accessing VA healthcare, the state of Texas has demonstrated a continuing commitment to advocating for veterans and their families.
Presiding: Representative Dan Flynn, Texas
Speaker: Kyle Mitchell, Deputy Executive Director, Texas Veterans Commission PDF PRESENTATION
Additional Sessions of Interest
Military and Veterans Affairs Economic Outlook
Joint with the Labor & Economic Development and Budgets and Revenue Committees; and Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force
- Tim Ford, Association of Defense Communities
- Michael Gilroy, U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment
Thursday | Aug. 21
Robocops: From Phones to Drones
New technologies can help investigators solve crimes in ways once thought impossible. But debate continues over how to balance a person’s 4th Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure with the community benefits gained from these new tools
- Alan Frazier, University of North Dakota
- Wade Setter, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minnesota