Capitol Update Series: State Senator Chuck Thomsen,
Chuck Thomsen, a State Senator from Hood River, has been one of the Legislature’s best advocate for the needs of Oregon’s veterans. Recently, State Senator Chuck Thomsen wants to make sure that military veterans in Oregon are receiving the help they need, and to that end he has signed on to a measure as a co-sponsor to make sure the state Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) is funded adequately. State Senator Chuck Thomsen joins over 30 other sponsors of the bill.
House Bill 3163 requires the ODVA, which was established in 1945, to request a certain level of funding in its biennial budget request—and it mandates that the governor and the Legislature fund rather than shortchange the department by providing at least the minimum amount required to operate. That level for the 2019–20 biennium is $136,986,655, divided into four programs—$87,345,276 to fund veterans’ homes in Lebanon and The Dalles; $28,106,598 for veteran services; $17,783,914 for the veterans’ home loan program; and $3,750,867 for aging veterans services. Supporters say that consistent and adequate funding levels for veteran programs is needed because veteran projects can fall behind due to more higher profile government services such as education and health care.
The bill outlines the rare economic conditions under which the minimum funding level requirement wouldn’t apply. It also addresses the proper use of dedicate lottery fund monies.
The measure was referred to the Ways and Means Committee for review.