Director Cameron Smith Update on the 77th Legislative Session

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July 12, 2013


Dear Partners,


With the Oregon State Legislature voting to adjourn this week, I wanted to take a moment and update you on some of the results from this 77th Legislative Session. As a community, we can be very proud of the support our veterans and military families received from the Legislature and Governor Kitzhaber.


Much of our work depends on the dollars and cents of a strong budget for veterans’ efforts. We have faced challenging economic times over the last few years and as a baseline we were pleased to have no cuts in our overall veteran services budget.


In fact, we were able to secure an essential $1.6 million fund shift for our core Veterans’ Services Division that will also help preserve the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) Veteran Home Loan Program. This has been a 20+ year effort and is essential to the financial stability of the department. We were also pleased the Legislature supported an additional $1 million appropriation beyond the base budget to support veteran outreach grants to County Veteran Service Offices.


Working with all of you, we were also able to pass a number of legislative bills to further honor our veterans. Recognition of our veterans is important; Oregon will name Interstate 84 for our Vietnam Veterans and Senate Bill 1 ensures all veterans can request Veterans’ Day off from their employers.


Other bills had significant policy and program impacts for our veterans. These included ensuring in-state tuition rates for all veterans as well as college tuition waivers for dependents of Purple Heart recipients since 9-11. The Legislature also passed impactful bills to better fund and address the complex challenges of veterans’ homelessness and suicide.


For more highlights from ODVA’s state budget and legislation passed for our veterans, please see the highlights below.


While I am proud of ODVA’s team for their legislative efforts this session, we also recognize no one agency or organization can address the diverse needs of our veterans across areas like health care, education and employment.


The statistics on veterans are national in scope, but our success in serving our veterans will be community by community and with all of you as partners. I want to personally thank you for all of your leadership and efforts to support Oregon’s veterans and military families. Together, we will continue to make a difference one veteran at a time.


Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns going forward – your advice and counsel is always appreciated. I look forward to continuing our important work together.




Cameron Smith


Cameron Smith


Director, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs





2013-15 Biennium Budget Highlights

  • $1.6 million fund shift enhancing General Fund support for ODVA’s core Veterans Services Division and to strengthen the Veterans Home Loan program
  • $3.5 million to enhance and expand the work of the County Veteran Service Offices
  • $1 million additional appropriation to create a Veterans’ Extended Outreach Grant Program (VEOGP) for County Veteran Service Offices
  • $4 million in bond authority for the 2nd Oregon Veterans Home currently under construction in Lebanon
  • $350,000 for suicide prevention and crisis line support
  • $250,000 for Oregon’s WWII memorial effort
  • $108,409 for National Service Organizations
  • $299,681 for Veteran Emergency Assistance
  • $84,663 for Veteran Educational Aid

 77th Legislative Session Bill Highlights

Recognition and Honor Legislation

HB 2044 and HB 2046
Strengthens financial sustainability of ODVA’s Conservatorship Program.

SB 34A and SB 35
Increases number of home loans veterans may obtain from ODVA and increases the Loan-to-Value limit on loans made by ODVA.

HB 2422 and HB 2421
Partners DHS and ODOT with ODVA to identify veterans who may be eligible for state and federal veteran benefits.

SB 762                            
Directs ODVA to create and coordinate public information campaign to prevent suicide by veterans.

HB 2037                         
Encourages quick professional licensing for military spouses who move to Oregon.

HB 2417                         
Increases funding to be used for veterans’ homelessness and low income housing efforts at the local and regional level.

HB 2158                         
Qualifies veterans for in-state tuition rates at public universities and community colleges. Also extends public university tuition waivers to dependents of Purple Heart recipients since Sept 11, 2001.

HB 2252                         
Allows non-resident uniformed service members to hunt or fish in Oregon for the same cost as an Oregon resident.

HB 2083                         
Permits service members called into active service to suspend and reinstate telecommunications, internet, television, health spa services service without charge.

SB 124                          
Allows courts to consider evidence regarding defendant’s status as a service member in determining mitigation.