HOUSE BILL NO. 4253
February 16, 2021, Introduced by Reps. O'Neal,
Steenland, Brenda Carter, Liberati, Coleman, Hood, Tyrone Carter, Stone,
Steckloff, Thanedar, Beson, Aiyash and Jones and referred to the Committee
on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security.
February 16, 2021, Introduced by Reps. O'Neal, Steenland, Brenda Carter, Liberati, Coleman, Hood, Tyrone Carter, Stone, Steckloff, Thanedar, Beson, Aiyash and Jones and referred to the Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security.
the people of the state of michigan enact:
(a) "County department" means a county department of veterans affairs.
(b) "Department" means the department of military and veterans affairs.
(c) "Eligible veteran" means a veteran who meets both of the following conditions:
(i) The veteran has a United States Department of Veterans Affairs service-connected disability rating of 50% or greater and is a resident of this state.
(ii) If the veteran was a participant in a reimbursement program under this act at any time during the 6-month period immediately preceding his or her request for a subsequent reimbursement benefit, he or she attended a qualified fitness facility participating in that reimbursement program not less than 8 times during the last month of his or her participation in the program.
(d) "Membership fee reimbursement" or "reimbursement" means a reimbursement of a qualified fitness facility membership fee, in whole or in part, that is provided to a qualified fitness facility for the benefit of an eligible veteran.
(e) "Membership fee reimbursement program" or "reimbursement program" means a program that provides for membership fee reimbursements for the benefit of eligible veterans at qualified fitness facilities.
(f) "Michigan veteran outreach fund" or "fund" means the Michigan veteran outreach fund created in section 2.
(g) "Michigan veteran outreach initiative" or "grant program" means the grant program created in section 3.
(h) "Qualified fitness facility" means a YMCA fitness facility or other private nonprofit fitness facility located in this state that meets the following conditions:
(i) The facility offers a reduced membership fee for veterans.
(ii) The facility is capable of tracking the attendance of veterans participating in a reimbursement program established under this act.
(iii) The facility is in compliance with the Americans with disabilities act of 1990, Public Law 101-336.
(i) "Service-connected disability" means a disability determined to be service-connected by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
(j) "Veteran" means that term as defined in section 1 of 1965 PA 190, MCL 35.61.
(k) "YMCA" means the Young Men's Christian Association.
(2) The state treasurer may receive money or other assets from any source for deposit into the fund. The state treasurer shall credit to the fund money appropriated to the fund. The state treasurer shall direct the investment of the fund and shall credit to the fund interest and earnings from fund investments.
(3) The department shall expend money from the fund to carry out the purpose of this act and shall not expend money from the fund for any other purpose.
(4) Money remaining in the fund at the close of the fiscal year remains in the fund and does not lapse to the general fund. Money remaining in the fund 3 years after the effective date of this act lapses to the general fund.
Sec. 3. (1) The department shall create and operate a grant program to be known as the Michigan veteran outreach initiative. Beginning on the effective date of this act and ending 3 years after that date, the department shall provide grants, upon appropriation, from the Michigan veteran outreach fund. Subject to subsections (4) and (5), the department shall provide the grants on a competitive basis to eligible counties, as described in subsection (2), for the establishment, operation, and funding of membership fee reimbursement programs.
(2) To be eligible for a grant under this section, a county must meet either of the following conditions:
(a) The county has established and currently operates a county department of veterans' affairs or has an agreement with a neighboring county to use the neighboring county's county department of veterans' affairs.
(b) The county has a Michigan veterans' trust fund agent who performs his or her duties from a county building.
(3) The department shall develop and implement an application process for the grant program described in subsection (1) that requires, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(a) Demonstration by the applicant county, through letters or otherwise, of the availability of qualified fitness facilities in the county that have expressed a willingness to participate in a reimbursement program established under this act.
(b) Statements of support from local officials or agencies in the county attesting to the need for assistance in providing access for eligible veterans to facilities within their community that offer opportunities for improving the health and wellness of veterans.
(c) Evidence indicating that the county department or the Michigan veterans' trust fund agent as described in subsection (2) is able to operate and monitor a reimbursement program.
(4) The department shall award a grant to 1 county in each of the following categories:
(a) Counties that have a population of less than 100,000.
(b) Counties that have a population of 100,000 or more but less than 200,000.
(c) Counties that have a population of 200,000 or more.
(5) The department shall determine grant recipients in accordance with the following order of preference:
(a) Counties that have a state or federal veteran's facility located in the county.
(b) Counties in which the available qualified fitness facilities, as provided by the applicant county under subsection (3), comply with the barrier-free design requirements of the state construction code promulgated under the Stille-DeRossett-Hale single state construction code act, 1972 PA 230, MCL 125.1501 to 125.1531, or have heightened levels of compliance, as determined by the department, with the Americans with disabilities act of 1990, Public Law 101-336, relative to other applicant counties in the same category as described in subsection (4).
(c) Counties that have a higher percentage of eligible veterans to the total population of the county as compared to other applicant counties.
(6) A county that receives a grant under this act must use the grant funds to establish, operate, and fund a reimbursement program in accordance with all of the following:
(a) The county department or veterans' trust fund agent shall process applications for reimbursement received from qualified fitness facilities located within the county that have elected to participate in the reimbursement program. Applications for reimbursement must be on a form provided by the department.
(b) An application for reimbursement submitted by a qualified fitness facility must include sufficient evidence, as determined by the department, to confirm that the individual receiving the benefit of the reimbursement is an eligible veteran.
(c) If an application for reimbursement is approved, the county department shall provide the reimbursement directly to the qualified fitness facility.
(d) The amount of a reimbursement provided to a qualified fitness facility under this section must not exceed $50.00 per month of membership for each eligible veteran.
Sec. 4. (1) The department shall determine the amount of a grant provided under section 3 as a percentage of the amount appropriated to the grant program for the fiscal year in which the grant is provided plus any remaining funds from the previous fiscal year. The department shall determine that percentage by dividing the number of eligible veterans residing in a county that is provided a grant under section 3 by the total number of all eligible veterans residing in all counties provided a grant under that section and multiplying the result by the amount appropriated to the grant program for the fiscal year in which the grant is provided plus any remaining funds from the previous fiscal year.
(2) Population figures for counties and eligible veterans must be obtained from the most recent American Community Survey published by the United States Census Bureau.