March 25, 2010
Chairman Steve Hilgenberg & Ranking Member Kevin Petersen
Assembly Committee on Veteran and Military Affairs
Madison, WI 53708
Dear Representatives Hilgenberg, Petersen, and Members of the Committee,
Thank you for holding today’s committee hearing and executive session on legislation of great importance to Wisconsin’s veterans.
As representatives of the approximately 15,000 members of the Department of Wisconsin Disabled American Veterans, we are in strong support of Assembly Bill 702, authored by Rep. Kristen Dexter.
Since WDVA pushed for cuts to the program as part of austerity measures to aid the Veterans Trust Fund, an unintended consequence has come about that has led to the denial of reimbursement for otherwise eligible part-time students who went over the 11-credit part-time “limit.” This bill “fixes” the part-time study problem in the veterans tuition reimbursement program for veterans who exceed 11 credits but are no longer eligible for the program under the full-time study provisions
We are also in support of Assembly Bill 781 as authored by Rep. Hilgenberg. This bill would provide an important, albeit partial “fix” to the wrongheaded, disenfranchising Wisconsin G.I. Bill tuition remission administrative changes made by the UW System (UWS) to limit the program’s costs following passage of the biennial budget. Since the program has already been in existence for several years, we believe the fiscal estimate of costs of this bill to be disingenuous at best, and we urge passage of at least the restorative measures contained in this bill. We are opposed to changes to the bill that would have the impact of making further cuts to the program, including new limits on students who study out of state.
Again, thank you for today’s committee actions. Your continuing efforts on behalf of the veterans of our great state are noted, and greatly appreciated.
Clarence Stoel, LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR
Anthony Hardie, SPECIAL ASSISTANT