California Statewide Policy

Communicating veteran’s needs at the state level is an essential component of an advocacy program for veterans. State policy makers and program administrators are vital to the allocation of resources and delivery of services to veterans. The Governor, his policy staff and state legislators determine the priority of need among various constituencies and the allocation of resources needed to meet those needs.

CAVSA’s state advocacy program informs state officials on both the broad scale implications and effects of state policy, particularly mental health and housing related policy that have real world, real time impact of CAVSA’s client population.

2019 Legislative Priorities


Full 2019 California Legislative Agenda


Mental Health & Wellness

A study of VA mental health services utilization reports 1.6 million American men and women have served or are serving currently in the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, or surrounding areas. Multiple studies have reported a high prevalence of emerging mental health disorders in this population. These mental health issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Military Sexual Trauma
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

CAVSA is committed to ensuring that all veterans gain access to mental health care by supporting member agencies in their individual missions to serve the needs of California’s veteran population. We help nearly 10,000 veterans access counseling and mental health services.


AB 43 (Gloria): Current law authorizes the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) to be amended by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature if the amendments are consistent with, and further the intent of, the act. Current law authorizes the Legislature to add provisions to clarify procedures and terms of the act by majority vote. This bill would clarify that the planning process for innovative programs is to be completed in collaboration with stakeholders and is to comply with open meetings laws.


AB 550 (Flora): This bill would establish the Medical Foster Home Pilot Program until January 1, 2023, under which a United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) facility may establish a medical foster home that is not subject to licensure or regulation as a residential care facility for the elderly, a community care facility, or a residential care facility for persons with chronic, life-threatening illness, pursuant to specified federal requirements. The bill would require a USDVA facility establishing the home to agree to be subject to the jurisdiction of the California State Auditor, and would require a medical foster home caregiver or an individual, other than a veteran resident, who is over 18 years of age and is residing in the medical foster home to be a registered independent home care aid, as specified. The bill would state the intent of the Legislature that the California State Auditor, in response to a request to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, conduct an audit evaluating the pilot program created by this bill no sooner than January 1, 2021, as specified.


AB 563 (Quirk-Silva): Current law, the Mental Health Services Act, an initiative measure enacted by the voters as Proposition 63 at the November 2, 2004, statewide general election, funds a system of county mental health plans for the provision of mental health services, as specified. The act establishes the Mental Health Services Fund, which is continuously appropriated to, and administered by, the State Department of Health Care Services to fund specified county mental health programs. This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.


AB 581 (Levine): Current law requires a court, if it concludes that a defendant convicted of a felony offense is or was a member of the United States military who may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems as a result of the defendant’s military service, to consider that circumstance as a factor in mitigation when imposing a sentence. Current law allows a defendant who is currently serving a felony sentence and meets these criteria to petition for resentencing if those criteria were not considered at the time of sentencing and the person was sentenced prior to January 1, 2015. This bill would allow a defendant meeting these criteria to petition for recall of sentence and resentencing without regard to whether the defendant was sentenced prior to January 1, 2015.


SB 10 (Beall): This bill would require the State Department of Health Care Services to establish, no later than July 1, 2020, a statewide peer, parent, transition-age, and family support specialist certification program, as a part of the state’s comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder delivery system and the Medi-Cal program. The bill would include 4 certification categories: adult peer support specialist, transition-age youth peer support specialist, family peer support specialist, and parent peer support specialist.


SB 11 (Beall): This bill would require a health care service plan and a health insurer to submit an annual report to the Department of Managed Health Care or the Department of Insurance, as appropriate, certifying compliance with state and federal mental health parity laws, as specified. The bill would require the departments to review the reports submitted by health care service plans to ensure compliance with state and federal mental health parity laws and would require the departments to make the reports and the results of the reviews available upon request and to post the reports and the results of the reviews on the departments’ Internet Web site.


SB 245 (Chang): This bill would prohibit a public animal shelter from charging an adoption fee for a dog or cat if the person adopting the dog or cat presents to the public animal shelter a current and valid driver’s license or identification card with the word “VETERAN” printed on its face pursuant to the above-described provision.


SB 289 (Archuleta): Would require the continued Medi-Cal HCBS eligibility or waiting list status of a Medi-Cal beneficiary who is a dependent child or spouse of an active duty military service member, if the military service member receives a military order to transfer to another state, as long as the military service member retains California as the state of legal residence and the Medi-Cal beneficiary retains eligibility for those services.


SB 389 (Hertzberg): Would amend the Mental Health Services Act to authorize the counties to use MHSA moneys to provide services to persons who are participating in a presentencing or postsentencing diversion program or who are on parole, probation, postrelease community supervision, or mandatory supervision. By authorizing a new use of continuously appropriated moneys, this bill would make an appropriation. The bill would state the finding of the Legislature that this act is consistent with, and furthers the intent of, the Mental Health Services Act.


Homelessness & Housing

Veterans are disproportionately represented among California’s homeless population. California is home to nearly 1.8 million veterans, the largest veteran population in the nation. However, unlike homeless veterans in other parts of the U.S. where 38% are unsheltered, a shocking 67% of California veterans were unsheltered in 2017. Additionally, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the rate of female veteran homelessness is at least three times greater than their non-veteran civilian peers. CAVSA prioritizes programming for veterans to help reverse these trends. We operate over 2,500 units of stabilization, transitional and permanent housing.


AB 240 (Irwin): Current law sets forth the duties of the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding the administration and regulation of veterans’ homes. Current law authorizes the Director of General Services to lease or let any real property held by the department for a home, as specified, to any entity or person upon terms and conditions determined to be in the best interests of the home. This bill would prohibit a lease or let from exceeding 5 years.


AB 694 (Irwin): This bill would enact the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2019 to authorize the issuance of bonds in an unspecified amount to provide additional funding for the VHHPA. The bill would provide for the handling and disposition of the funds in the same manner as the 2014 bond act.


AB 1717 (Friedman): The bill would authorize a transit-oriented affordable housing district to enter into a contract with CalHFA that includes specified provisions, including a provision requiring the district to remit the entirety of the amount allocated to it by a division of taxes to CalHFA and a provision requiring that CalHFA transfer that amount to the custody of the Treasurer for deposit in the Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Trust Fund (trust fund), which this bill would create and continuously appropriate to CalHFA. The bill would require CalHFA to issue revenue bonds, in accordance with specified procedures, secured by moneys in the trust fund and allocate the proceeds of those bonds to districts with which it has a contract in proportion to the amount remitted by each district. The bill would specify that moneys in the trust fund are nonstate moneys and are instead the property of, and held in trust on behalf of, the districts that contract with CalHFA under these provisions. The bill would require that a district use the proceeds of revenue bonds allocated to it pursuant to these provisions for those purposes to provide program funding to participating multifamily housing developments.


AB 816 (Quirk-Silva): Would establish the California Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool Program within the Department of Housing and Community Development for the purpose of making grants available to applicants, defined to include a city, county, city and county, or continuum of care, for eligible activities including, among other things, rental assistance, operating subsidies in new and existing affordable or supportive housing units, and specified outreach services. The bill would continuously appropriate $450,000,000 from the General Fund every fiscal year to the department for purposes of the program, and set forth how these funds must be allocated.


SB 48 (Weiner): This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that creates a right to shelter for unhoused residents throughout the state, which would be required to include the navigation center model. The bill would state the purposes of this legislation, including ensuring that every person living on California’s streets has the ability to promptly secure shelter that is safe and supportive. The bill would specify certain elements that this right to shelter would include. The bill would specify that the right to shelter is not intended to be in lieu of prioritizing permanent housing for people who lack housing.


SB 222 (Hill): This bill would state findings and declarations of the Legislature regarding the importance of housing for veterans and its priority, and declare that housing discrimination on the basis of veteran or military status is against public policy.


SB 644 (Glazer): This bill lowers the amount that a landlord can charge active duty military service members, as defined, for a security deposit on residential rental housing.


SCA 1 (Allen):  The California Constitution prohibits the development, construction, or acquisition of a low-rent housing project, as defined, in any manner by any state public body until a majority of the qualified electors of the city, town, or county in which the development, construction, or acquisition of the low-rent housing project is proposed approve the project by voting in favor at an election, as specified. This measure would repeal these provisions.


Training & Education

The return to civilian life can be tough for any veteran especially those who are wounded, including those who suffer from invisible wounds like depression and post-traumatic stress that can complicate the ability to secure and maintain employment in the civilian marketplace. CAVSA supports efforts for veterans’ employment programs that specifically target underserved veteran populations such as female veterans, veterans with PTSD, those who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST) and other forms of mental illness. We specifically support additional funding for Jobs for Veterans State Grants and the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.


AB 232 (Cervantes): This bill expresses the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation creating an articulation platform for the California Community Colleges to facilitate the transition of recent veterans to state institutions of higher education.


AB 308 (Muratsuchi): This bill would extend the minimum franchise tax and annual tax exemptions for a corporation and a limited liability company that are small businesses solely owned by a deployed member of the United States Armed Forces for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2029.


AB 539 (Limon): This bill establishes an interest rate cap of 36% plus the federal funds rate for California Financing Law (CFL) licensee-provided consumer loans with principal amounts between $2,500 and $10,000. This bill also prohibits a CFL licensee from charging a penalty for prepayment of a consumer loan and establishes minimum loan terms.


AB 1343 (Eggman): This bill would, beginning January 1, 2021, prohibit a private postsecondary educational institution from enrolling residents of California, unless the institution meets either the requirement that no more than 85% of the institution’s tuition revenue, determined as specified, is derived from student financial aid and loans, or not less than 50% of the institution’s tuition revenue is dedicated to student instruction, as defined in regulations adopted by the bureau no later than January 1, 2021, as specified. The bill would provide that submission to the bureau of an audit or audited financial statement, as specified, presumptively constitutes proof of compliance with this requirement


AB 1344 (Bauer-Kahan): Requires out-of-state private postsecondary educational institutions, as of July 1, 2021, to provide the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) with information regarding adverse actions upon registration and renewal. Additionally, this bill authorizes the BPPE to place these out- of-state private postsecondary institutions on a probationary status and revoke authorization to enroll California students, as specified.


AB 1345 (McCarty): This bill prohibits an institution from providing financial incentives to any person, including a student, involved in student recruitment, enrollment, continued enrollment, admission, or attendance, or involved in awarding of financial aid based on the enrollment of a student, or in the sales of any education materials, based on succeeding in those activities, as specified.


AB 1365 (Committee on Veterans Affairs): This bill requires a contract-awarding state department to maintain all records of the information provided by a prime contractor under the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Program and to retain the records for a minimum of six years; to establish appropriate review procedures for those records; and to directly inform a DVBE when it has been identified as a subcontractor in an awarded contract.


SB 500 (Morrell): This bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish an education assistance program to provide housing and tuition assistance to disabled veterans attending graduate school in the State of California if their eligibility for federal education assistance has expired. The bill would, upon appropriation by the Legislature, require the department to provide tuition assistance and a housing allowance to disabled veterans while they attend any graduate school in the State of California, as specified. The bill would additionally require the department, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to provide a housing allowance to a disabled veteran in a graduate internship or fellowship program that earns credits towards a graduate degree.


SB 562 (Morrell): Current property tax law, pursuant to the authorization of the California Constitution, provides a disabled veteran’s property tax exemption for the principal place of residence of a veteran, the veteran’s spouse, or the veteran and veteran’s spouse jointly, and the unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran, as provided, if the veteran is blind in both eyes, has lost the use of 2 or more limbs, or is totally disabled as a result of injury or disease incurred in military service, or if the veteran has, as a result of a service-connected injury or disease, died while on active duty in military service. This bill, for the 2020-21 fiscal year and for each fiscal year thereafter, would increase these exemption amounts to $200,000, or $250,000 if the household income of the claimant does not exceed $40,000, as adjusted for inflation.