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2020 Legislative Priorities

WE ARE PNGAS, the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations, the only organization exclusively promoting the highest levels of readiness, modernization and quality of life for our 19,438 members and 67,500 veterans of the Pennsylvania National Guard and their families, while making sure our men and women have the very-best equipment and resources. Over the next 12-months, the Pennsylvania National Guard must recruit more than 2,300 new members to replace Guard members that have completed their commitments and/or retired. As a direct result, PNGAS legislative, budget and mission priorities reflect the critical need to attract, train and retain quality women and men in the Guard and recognize institutions that help optimize recruitment, retention and procurement strategies of the Pennsylvania National Guard. The PNGAS mission helps members, veterans and their family’s access and get the benefits they have earned.

To strengthen the Guard, PNGAS adopts this 2020 Legislative Agenda and directs its energies, resources and talents be specifically focused to secure swift passage of these PNGAS priorities. The 2020 Legislative Priorities were adopted on 09 November, 2019 and updated on 13 March, 2020.

  1. The Educational Assistance Program (“EAP”) is the #1 recruiting and retention tool for the Pennsylvania National Guard and remains a top budget priority of PNGAS. This year, PNGAS supports and urges advocacy for the Governor’s proposed FY 2020-2021 state budget EAP allocation net increase of $818,000 to $14,083,000.
  2. With the 2019 passage of the Military Family Education Program (MFEP), designed as a top retention tool requires a budget of $3,083,000 in the proposed FY 2020-2021 state budget.
  3. Retention Tax Credit. PNGAS priority legislation. We seek final passage and 1st year funding. Sen. Brooks is circulating a co-sponsorship memo to reintroduce SB1280 (Vulakovich). Please co-sponsor and support final passage, with PNGAS clarifying language.
  4. HB 1338, (Barrar) We seek passage of this legislation, and a 2nd year budget allocation of $1.493 million to fund the Keystone State Challenge Academy Special Fund.
  5. Instead of budget cut, increase prior year Veteran’s Home budget funding by $1 million in the FY 2020-2021 state budget to help address coronavirus impacts.
  6. In addition to the proposed $396.118 Million in total DMVA mission funding, because of fast-evolving circumstances that will impact military readiness and veterans, we support an on-time state budget that provides $430 Million for total state funding for the DMVA in the FY 2020-2021 state budget as the legislative priority of PNGAS.
  7. SB976 (Regan) establishes Veteran’s Court provisions into state law is a PNGAS legislative priority.
  8. SB952 (Regan) updates the state’s veteran preference definition and clarifying language.

PNGAS supports the following legislation:

  • HB 229, sponsored by Rep. Deasy, Combat to College Program, Title 51 (Military Affairs) promotes a veteran-friendly educational environment to assist veterans and returning deployed military in attaining a degree from a higher educational institution. Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Jan. 28, 2019 [House]
  • HB 89 sponsored by Rep. Rothman - Establishes the Veterans and Reservists Entrepreneurial Training and Support Program within DCED. Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, Jan. 28, 2019 [House]
  • HB 630 sponsored by Rep. Day - Amends Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in military leave of absence, further providing for employment discrimination for military membership or duty. Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, June 6, 2019 [Senate]
  • SB 347 sponsored by Senator Baker and HB1570 sponsored by Rep. Mackenzie, Gillen & Sainato - A Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution, providing for exemptions and special provisions for the surviving spouse of any member of the armed forces of the United States who was killed in action, or who died as a result of injuries received while in active service. Referred to FINANCE, Feb. 27, 2019 [Senate] Referred to FINANCE, June 4, 2019 [House]
  • SB 601 sponsored by Senator Sabatina - Legislation Providing Job Training Preference for Active Duty Service Members (adds National Guard to the list). Under current law, the Workforce Development Act provides no preference for veterans or their spouses. Laid on the table (Pursuant to Senate Rule 9), Sept. 24, 2019 [Senate]
  • SB 1041 sponsored by Senator Bartolotta – Creates Veteran and Disabled Veteran Business Logo Designations. We support with PNGAS amendments. Referred to VETERANS AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, April 26, 2018 [House]
  • SB 356, PN 864, sponsored by Senator Boscola - License Portability for Military Spouses – Pennsylvania - PNGAS supports, more strongly supports with amendments to include members and veterans of the armed forces, reserves and Guard in addition to military spouses. Laid on the table (Pursuant to Senate Rule 9), June 26, 2019 [Senate]
  • HB 239, PN 209, sponsored by Rep. Readshaw - Updates Military Recruiter Access - Referred to EDUCATION, July 8, 2019 [Senate]

Our Federal Legislative Priorities Include:

  • S.164 (Daines) / H.R. 613 (Kelly) Expand TRICARE Reserve Select Coverage. Remove the prohibition on eligibility for TRS of members of the reserve components who are eligible to enroll in a health benefits plan under chapter 89, Title 5, U.S.C. STATUS: S. 164 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services on January 16, 2019 / H.R. 613 Referred to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel on January 24, 2019.
  • S.3308 (Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV]- Senate - 02/13/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services. H.R.5887 - Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, (Rep. Kim, Andy [D-NJ-3]) - 02/13/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Armed Services. To standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive-pay for members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.
  • S. 3266 (Sen. Tester, Jon [D-MT] – Senate - 02/11/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, H.R.5870 (Rep. Levin, Mike [D-CA-49] - House - 03/02/2020 Referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2020. Provides parity in G.I. Bill benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves who increasingly conduct similar training and missions as active duty troops, but do not receive equal benefits.