UPDATE: Off the fast track?
The Assembly Veterans Committee chaired by Rep. Gabe Loeffelholz, R-Platteville, took no action Tuesday on a plan to transfer millions of dollars from the vets'nursing home in King. AB 1034 that would allow the transfer of money - up to $16 million - that could be invested for the future at the King Home to the trust fund account was suspended in freeze frame while GOP legislative leaders decide what to do about the measure. No executive action was taken and no amendments are pending.
-- By Gary Fisher:
A high-speed transfer of $16 million from the vets' nursing home at King in Waupaca County to the account of the Veterans Trust Fund is set for a committee vote Tuesday.
The executive session takes place Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Veterans Affairs Committee chaired by Rep. Terry Musser, R-Black River Falls.
Just introduced and fast-tracked, Assembly Bill 1034 would allow the transfer of money that could be invested for the future at the King Home to the trust fund account. The original draft of the bill stated an amount of $16 million to be transferred.
The measure would have to pass in both houses and then be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs hasn't provided documents pertaining to the financial performance of King Home or the accounting reasons why the planned transfer of millions from the nursing home to the trust fund is such an urgent necessity. Nor has it provided documents to show why the King Home has a cash surplus to bail out the trust fund.
Whatever the reasons for the transfer, 23 senators and 89 representatives overwhelmingly support the legislation.
The bill would also exempt certain vets from UW System and technical college tuition and fees, ensure eligibility for reduced tuition fees for surviving spouses that haven't remarried, and the children of certain deceased veterans, and increase IT staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The committee is also set to act on SB 436, a college reenrollment and registration priority for those called into active military duty and AB 164 that would exempt a military death gratuity payment from taxation.
The Veterans Affairs Board meets Tuesday and Wednesday this week at the state Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters in Madison. On Tuesday it's Salute to the Legislature at Monona Terrace.
Meanwhile, board member holdout Kathy Marschman, whose term was over May 1, 2005, still blocks Rod Moen from succeeding her on the board, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz hasn't scheduled action for a floor vote on Moen's confirmation. Gov. Jim Doyle appointed Moen last year to serve a six-year term, but Marschman has refused to resign even though her term ended, so Moen can't take the seat until the Republican State Senate confirms him, which it seems unwilling to do.
Board member Don Heiliger's term on the board also ended at the same time as Marschman's last year, however, the governor has yet to appoint a replacement