RICHMOND, Va. — Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, updated members of the Virginia General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus and the Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations on the Virginia National Guard and discussed the VNG’s legislative initiatives for the 2019 session of the Virginia General Assembly Jan. 16, 2019, in Richmond, Virginia.
“Each year we make the time to provide an update to the Military and Veterans Caucus and the JLC about the Virginia National Guard and the issues that impact our Soldiers and Airmen,” Williams explained. “It is incredibly important for them to have a clear understanding about the challenges we face.”
The Military and Veterans Caucus is made up of Virginia senators and delegates with a keen interest in legislation that supports currently serving military personnel and veterans in Virginia.
The JLC provides a vehicle for veterans service organizations like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars to collaborate with the Department of Veterans Services on meeting the needs of Virginia’s veterans.
Williams explained that there are two main legislative actions before the General Assembly that impact the VNG: increase in State Tuition Assistance and increase state active duty pay for junior enlisted Soldiers and Airmen.
Legislation in the Virginia House and Senate would add vocational schools and certificate programs to the list of institutions for which State Tuition Assistance can be used, as well as add fees and books to the costs that STA can cover.
Virginia Sen. Monty Mason sponsored SB1412 in the Virginia Senate and Del. Marcus Simon sponsored HB2455 in the Virginia House of Delegates.
In addition to the legislation, Governor Ralph Northam also put $1.5 million in his budget proposal for an increase in tuition assistance funding.
“Increased tuition incentives serve as strong recruiting and retention tools to help reach end strength goals and provides stability to our Soldiers, Airmen and their families as they work to better themselves and their communities by furthering their education,” Williams said. “VNG personnel continuing their education comes back to the commonwealth through additional funds spent at Virginia’s colleges, universities and continuing education courses, and it also leads to increasing the skills our Soldiers and Airmen possess and give back to Virginia’s economy.”
The objective of the legislation for increasing state active duty pay would pay junior Soldiers and Airmen the equivalent of the rank of staff sergeant with 18 years of service, which is currently just over $125 per day.
Virginia Senator Bryce Reeves sponsored SB1246 in the Virginia Senate, and in the House of Delegates Del. David Reid sponsored HB1968, Del. Hala Ayala sponsored HB2626 and Del. Bob Thomas sponsored SB2788.
“When our Soldiers and Airmen respond on short notice for state active duty in potential dangerous situations, we should compensate them at a rate comparable to the minimum wage,” Williams said.
Read the legislation online:
SB1412 Sen. Monty Mason:
HB2455 Del. Marcus Simon:
SAD Pay Increase:
SB1246 Sen. Bryce Reeves:
HB1968 Del. David Reid:
HB2626 Del. Hala Ayala:
HB2788 Del. Bob Thomas
For more information about the JLC, visit the link below: