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Baker's veteran-assistance bill heads to governor

AB 1401 focuses on alerting vets to financial aid for post-service education

Gov. Jerry Brown is set to consider a bill from local Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) that aims to improve notification and assistance to certain military veterans about financial aid services available for collegiate education.

The proposed legislation, which cleared the State Senate without a dissenting vote Thursday, would reinstate since-expired requirements for the Office of the Adjutant General to provide those veterans with student financial aid forms and help them complete fee waiver and federal aid applications.

Assembly Bill 1401 applies to members of the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve and the Naval Militia who have not completed a bachelor's degree.

"Our veterans are faced with far too many obstacles upon their return to private life," Baker, whose district includes Pleasanton, said in a statement Friday. "We have a duty to our military men and women to remove these unnecessary difficulties and support them through their transition, and that is exactly what Assembly Bill 1401 does."

Baker introduced AB 1401 in February, and it passed the Assembly without dissent in May, advancing it to the State Senate.

One of its main goals is to reinstate the notification and assistance requirements that had been state law up until the beginning of 2012, when the regulations expired and were never replaced, the first-term assemblywoman said.

Baker's bill also requires the office to make available for those veterans information about the federal Post-9/11 GI Bill and the California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program, as well as contact information for veterans' educational assistance.

"I am thankful to my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate for supporting this important measure, and I am hopeful that Governor Brown will sign AB 1041 into law," Baker added.

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