CBA Helps Pass Legislation in Support of Veterans
Monday, May 23, 2016
Posted by: Connecticut Bar Association
Recent advocacy by the Veterans and Military Affairs Section (VAMS) aided in the passing of two bills aimed at supporting veterans.
The first, House Bill 5356, An Act Concerning Veterans' Health Records prohibits health providers from charging for health records requested in support of claims or appeals for veterans’ benefits. In many instances, a veteran’s health records are voluminous, yet they are necessary in order to properly prepare a claim. As a result, it can be very costly to obtain these records. This legislation assists veterans pursuing claims and appeals for benefits. In addition, a number of attorneys take veterans benefits cases on a pro bono basis, and a prohibition on fees will help in this effort. The bill applies to licensed health care institutions (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care agencies) and various licensed and certified providers, including emergency medical services personnel, physicians, chiropractors, naturopaths, podiatrists, and dentists, among others.
The second, Senate Bill 00002, An Act Supporting Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, permits the Commissioner of Administrative Services to give a 15 percent preference with open market orders or contracts to veteran-owned micro businesses. A “veteran-owned micro business” is defined as a company that has less than three million dollars in gross revenues for the preceding year and has at least 51 percent ownership held by veterans. The bill also waives the business entity tax for any veteran owned business, established after July 1, 2016, for the first taxable year. This bill makes veteran-owned small business more competitive which, in turn, will make veterans less reliant on state services and pro bono legal services.
VAMS Chair, Emily Trudeau, State Attorney Office Appellate Division, and Vice Chair, Eric Miller of Murtha Cullina LLP, actively wrote requests, called legislators, and advocated at the Capitol in support of the bills with the help of CBA Government and Community Relations Administrator, Bill Chapman who worked with most of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee on the requests as well as with the Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner, Sean Connolly, on the legislation.