Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill from local Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) that aims to better inform and assist veterans of the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve and the Naval Militia about financial aid opportunities available for their post-service education.
Assembly Bill 1401, which takes effect Jan. 1, reinstates 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.
"Our veterans sacrifice so much in the name of service to our country and to the state of California," Baker, whose district includes Pleasanton, said in a statement Thursday.
"It is the responsibility of our government to support our veterans upon their return to private life and ensure their equal access to a bright and successful future. That's why I introduced Assembly Bill 1401, providing our veterans with the tools to reach their potential," the first-term assemblywoman added.
AB 1401, which applies to veterans of those branches who have not completed a bachelor's degree, cleared both legislative houses without dissent, passing the State Assembly in May and the State Senate last month.
"I am very pleased by the unanimous bipartisan support for this bill and that Governor Brown signed this important measure providing veterans with greater assistance and notification of financial aid services," Baker said.
One of legislation's main goals is to reinstate "much-needed" notification and assistance requirements that had been state law up until the beginning of 2012, when the regulations expired and were never replaced, according to Baker.
The new law also requires the adjutant general 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.