Chapter 2. Department Of Veterans Affairs of California Military And Veterans Code >> Division 1. >> Chapter 2.
As used in this chapter, "department" means the Department of
As used in this chapter, "board" means the California Veterans
As used in this code, "secretary" means the Secretary of
There is in the state government a Department of Veterans
There shall be a California Veterans Board.
The California Veterans Board shall consist of seven members
who shall be appointed by the Governor subject to the confirmation of
All members of the board shall be veterans as "veteran" is
defined in Section 18540.4 of the Government Code. One of these
members shall also be retired from the active or reserve forces of
the United States military service. One of these members shall also
be a resident of a California veterans home. This subdivision shall
not be construed to prohibit a member of the board who does not meet
this requirement from serving the remainder of his or her term.
(a) Every member of the board shall be a member in good
standing with a congressionally chartered veteran service
(b) One member of the board shall have substantial training,
professional knowledge, or experience in the issues faced by female
veterans which may include, but are not limited to, the following
(1) Combat-related disorders.
(2) Sexual trauma.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any
member of the board from serving the remainder of his or her term.
(a) Of the members as appointed, except as provided in
subdivision (b), one shall be appointed for a term expiring January
15, 1947, two for terms expiring January 15, 1948, two for terms
expiring January 15, 1949, and two for terms expiring January 15,
1950. Subsequent appointments shall be for terms of four years.
(b) The member of the board who is a resident of a California
veterans home shall be appointed for a term expiring January 15 of an
odd-numbered year. Subsequent appointments shall be made on a
rotational basis based on the age of the home, beginning with the
oldest veterans home with independent living.
(c) Vacancies shall be immediately filled by the Governor for the
unexpired portion of the terms in which they occur.
Each member of the board shall receive, for each day's
attendance at each meeting of the board, a per diem of fifty dollars
($50) and shall receive the same per diem for each day spent on
official duties assigned by the board. In addition, each member shall
be reimbursed for his necessary traveling and other expenses
incurred in the performance of his official duties.
(a) The board shall hold meetings at times and at places as
shall be determined by it.
(b) Special meetings may be called at any time by the chairperson
or by the executive officer at the request of any four members, upon
notice specifying the matters to be acted upon at the meeting, but no
other matters shall be acted upon at these special meetings which
were not so noticed.
In the budget submitted by the department pursuant to Section
13320 of the Government Code, the board shall have its budget
separately stated. Those funds allocated for the board shall be used
solely as determined by the members of the board, for the board's
operation and other necessary purposes as the board may determine.
(a) On or before January 10, 2009, and on or before January
10 of each year thereafter, the department shall provide the fiscal
committees of both houses of the Legislature with a fiscal estimate
package containing the anticipated budget year costs of carrying out
the current year's level of service as authorized by the Legislature
for the state veterans homes.
(b) (1) The fiscal estimate package shall include, but not be
limited to, the following information, which shall be provided for
each veterans home:
(A) An annual resident census by level of care.
(B) An annual position summary by level of care and nonlevel of
(C) Operating and equipment expenses, including, but not limited
to, the following:
(i) Cost adjustments specific to the adjustment in the number of
residents by level of care.
(ii) Any staff adjustments, whether level of care or nonlevel of
(D) A fiscal display of any moneys budgeted by the department as
revenues or recoveries to the General Fund.
(2) Each fiscal estimate package shall include, in addition to the
information provided pursuant to paragraph (1), a description of the
assumptions and methodologies used for calculating the resident
level of care factors, all staffing costs, and operating and
equipment expenses. Fiscal bridge charts shall be included that
display the year-to-year changes in funding levels by funding source.
(3) The department may provide any additional information as
deemed appropriate to provide a comprehensive fiscal perspective to
the Legislature for the analysis and deliberations for purposes of
(c) On or before May 15, 2009, and on or before May 15 of each
year thereafter, the department shall provide the fiscal committees
of both houses of the Legislature with an updated fiscal estimate
package that shall include, but is not limited to, an updated fiscal
display of any moneys budgeted by the department as revenues or
recoveries to the General Fund and updated fiscal bridge charts that
display the year-to-year changes in funding levels by funding source.
(a) The Department of Veterans Affairs succeeds to, and is
vested with, the duties, powers, purposes, responsibilities, and
jurisdiction of the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs, the
Division of Veterans' Welfare, the Veterans' Welfare Board, the
California Veterans' Commission, the Division of Veterans' Homes, the
Board of Directors of the Veterans' Home of California, and the
Board of Directors of the Woman's Relief Corps Home of California and
of the officers and employees of that department, those divisions
and boards, and that commission, except that the Secretary of
Veterans Affairs, in lieu of the Director of Military and Veterans'
Affairs, is a member of the Governor's cabinet and, in lieu of the
chair of the Veterans' Welfare Board, is a member of each and every
veterans' finance committee of which the chair until now has been a
(b) (1) There is hereby created the California Veterans Memorial
Registry Fund, for the deposit of financial contributions made for
the support of the Veterans Registry, which is part of the California
Veterans Memorial. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government
Code and without regard to fiscal years, the money in the fund is
hereby continuously appropriated to the department for the purpose of
defraying the costs of data entry and system management for the
Veterans Registry and the reasonable costs that are incurred by the
department for administering the fund.
(2) In order to be eligible for inclusion in the Veterans
Registry, a person must have served in the active military of the
United States, received a discharge under honorable conditions, and
resided in California at some time before, during, or after his or
her military service. Failure to meet this eligibility requirement
constitutes good cause for removal of the person's name from the
(a) The members of the board shall select one of their members
to serve as chairperson, who shall hold office as chairperson at the
pleasure of the board.
(b) The chairperson of the board, with the concurrence of a
majority of the members of the board, shall appoint an executive
officer, who shall attend all meetings of the board, keep a full and
true record of all its proceedings, preserve at its general office
all its books, documents, and papers, and perform other duties that
the board may prescribe.
(c) The department shall provide the board with adequate office
and meeting space at no cost to the board. This space shall be easily
accessible to disabled veterans.
The California Veterans Board shall advise the department and
secretary on policies for operations of the department. The
department shall respond to all proposed policy changes offered by
the California Veterans Board prior to the next scheduled meeting of
The California Veterans Board may create advisory committees
consisting of veterans to advise the board in specific fields under
or relating to the jurisdiction of the board. The board shall appoint
the members thereof and they shall serve at its pleasure. The board
shall also designate the chairman and vice chairman therof. The
committees shall be under the direction of the board and shall be
wholly advisory in character and shall not be delegated any
administrative authority or responsibility. Members of such
committees shall not receive compensation from the State for their
services, but when called into conference or session by the board
shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred
in connection with such conferences or sessions, and for purposes of
such reimbursement shall be deemed to be nonsalaried commission
The secretary and the board shall each seek to confer with
the California State Commanders Veterans Council at least twice per
calendar year on issues affecting California veterans.
(a) Any state officer or employee who intentionally engages
in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats, coercion, or similar acts
against an employee of any state department, board, or authority for
having disclosed what the employee, in good faith, believed to be
improper activities regarding veterans programs that are supported by
the state shall be disciplined by adverse action as provided in
Section 19572 of the Government Code. If no adverse action is
instituted by the appointing power, the State Personnel Board shall
take adverse action in the same manner as provided in Section 19583.5
of the Government Code.
(b) In addition to all other causes of action, penalties, or other
remedies provided by law, any state officer or employee who
intentionally engages in acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats,
coercion, or similar acts against an employee for having disclosed
what the employee, in good faith, believed to be improper activities
regarding veterans programs that are supported by the state shall be
liable in an action for damages brought against him or her by the
injured party. Punitive damages may be awarded by the court if the
acts of the offending party are proven to be malicious. If liability
has been established, the injured party also shall be entitled to
reasonable attorney's fees as provided by law.
The board shall have access to all documents and employees of
(a) The chief administrative officer of the Department of
Veterans Affairs shall be the Secretary of Veterans Affairs who shall
be a civil executive officer.
(b) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall be a veteran as
"veteran" is defined in Section 18540.4 of the Government Code.
(c) Whenever the term "Director of Veterans Affairs" or "director"
appears in this code, it shall mean the Secretary of Veterans
The secretary shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure
of the Governor.
The annual salary of the secretary is provided for by Chapter 6
(commencing with Section 11550) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2
of the Government Code.
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs is head of the department
and, as head of the department and subject to the policies adopted by
the board, shall perform all duties, exercise all powers and
jurisdiction, assume and discharge all responsibilities and carry out
and effect all provisions now or hereafter vested by law in the
The secretary shall conduct audits as required by Section
13402 of the Government Code, on internal controls of the department,
that shall be provided to the inspector general.
There shall be an Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs, who shall
be a civil executive officer. He or she shall be appointed and his
or her salary shall be established by the secretary pursuant to law.
In addition to the Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs, there
shall be within the department, and the secretary shall appoint, a
Deputy Secretary of Women Veterans Affairs who shall have
responsibility over administration of women veterans affairs.
(a) In addition to the secretary, the Governor shall appoint
a Deputy Secretary of Veterans Homes, to serve at the pleasure of the
secretary, who shall be responsible for the administration of all
sites of the California veterans homes.
(b) It is preferable that the deputy secretary is a medical doctor
who holds a valid, unrevoked, and unsuspended license to practice
medicine in this state, or is a professionally trained hospital
administrator with (1) experience in managing a multihospital
organization and (2) training or experience in the care of the
(c) The role of the deputy secretary shall be to oversee and
monitor all aspects of medical care that is being provided to men and
women veterans who are residents in any California veterans home.
The director may employ subject to law such expert, technical,
legal, clerical, and other employees as may be necessary to carry out
his powers and duties and except as expressly otherwise provided in
Section 71 of this chapter, the director shall be the sole appointing
authority for the department for all positions. Whenever possible
preference shall be given to veterans for employment in the
Except to the extent inconsistent with the provisions of this
chapter, the provisions of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title
2 of the Government Code shall be applicable to the Department of
Veterans Affairs as if the provisions of said Chapter 2 were set out
Whenever in such chapter the term "head of the department" or
similar designation occurs, it shall mean the director, except that
for the purposes of Article 2 of said Chapter 2 it shall also mean
both the board and any member of the board to whom the duty of
conducting any investigation is given by the board.
(a) The secretary may whenever he or she deems it advisable and
shall when required so to do by the board present reports and
recommendations to the board concerning any matter relating to
veterans' welfare whether or not provided by existing law.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the secretary
shall not effectuate any policy change that would modify any veterans'
program without first fully briefing the board regarding the effects
upon veterans of the proposed policy change.
(c) For the purposes of this section and Section 700, "program"
means the Veterans Home of California, the veterans' farm and home
purchase program, including any associated insurance programs, and
any veterans' education assistance program.
(d) "Policy change" for the purposes of this section means any
proposed changes to the programs set forth in subdivision (c) that
would directly or indirectly affect the eligibility of veterans to
participate in, the affordability for veterans of, or the financial
stability of, those programs.
Records of the department which are records of contract
purchasers, shall not be open to inspection by the public.
(a) Any person deeming himself or herself a veteran and who
applies for benefits may appeal any decision made by a division of
the department to the California Veterans Board. Upon receipt of the
appeal, the board shall grant a hearing, if requested, and shall
render its decision in writing to the appellant not later than the
second meeting of the board following the receipt of the appeal or of
the hearing if one is held. An appeal shall be deemed to have been
received by the board on the date of the first meeting of the board
subsequent to delivery of the appeal to the executive officer of the
board. Except for judicial review, the board's decision is final and
the board shall have the power to change or modify with good cause
any decision that is adverse to the appellant. Except as described in
subdivision (b), all hearings of appeals may be delegated by the
board to the undersecretary or a deputy secretary of the department.
Hearings shall be held in the department office nearest to the
appellant's home unless the appellant requests otherwise.
(b) Hearings of appeals related to the Veterans' Farm and Home
Purchase Act may be delegated by the board only to the Office of
Administrative Hearings to be conducted by administrative law judges
of the Office of Administrative Hearings pursuant to Chapter 4
(commencing with Section 11370) and Chapter 5 (commencing with
Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government
Code. The administrative law judges shall submit their proposed
decisions to the board for final decision. The administrative law
judges shall make all reasonable efforts to hold hearings at neutral
locations, however, if no other facilities are available without
incurring excessive costs, the hearings may be held at the department
office nearest to the appellant's home.
(a) Notwithstanding other provisions of law, including, but not
limited to, Section 1 of Chapter 648 of the Statutes of 1992, as
amended, the Department of Veterans Affairs shall enter into an
agreement with the Department of Fish and Game that grants to the
Department of Fish and Game for a period of 99 years, exclusive
authority over management and control of approximately 340 acres of
land being portions of Sections 19, 28, 29, and 30 of Township 7
North, Range 4 West, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian, in the vicinity
of the Rector Reservoir, Napa County, to be utilized by the
Department of Fish and Game exclusively for open space or
conservation purposes. The agreement may be terminated only upon the
mutual agreement of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the
Department of Fish and Game.
(b) If the agreement described in subdivision (a) is not entered
into by December 31, 1997, exclusive authority over the management
and control of the property described in subdivision (a) is hereby
granted to the Department of Fish and Game, effective January 1,
(c) Upon the effective date of the agreement entered into pursuant
to subdivision (a) or upon the operation of subdivision (b), the
provisions of Section 1 of Chapter 648 of the Statutes of 1992, as
amended, authorizing the property described in subdivision (a) as
surplus property are repealed.
The department may apply to the California Debt Limit
Allocation Committee for allocations of the state ceiling on
qualified private activity bonds for qualified residential rental
(a) The department shall include in its strategic plan the
(1) A review of the goals and objectives relating to homeless
veterans, to determine whether the methods the department uses to
plan, analyze, develop, monitor, and implement the strategic plan
will likely decrease homelessness among veterans.
(2) A determination of the number of homeless veterans in this
state and the number of those veterans who received benefits from
state or federal programs, including, but not limited to, the number
of homeless veterans in need of multifamily or transitional housing
and the number of those veterans who received benefits for those
(b) The department shall transmit the strategic plan to the
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Chairman
of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs.
By July 1, 2015, the department shall develop a transition
assistance program for veterans who have been discharged from the
Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard of any state.
The program shall be designed to assist veterans in successfully
transitioning from military to civilian life in California and to
complement the transition program offered by the United States
Department of Defense. The program shall include, but shall not be
limited to, the following California-specific transition assistance
information: higher education benefits and program information,
vocational training assistance, small business resources and
information, health care programs and services, mental health
resources and information, military sexual trauma (MST) resources and
information, and housing information.