My time in the Senate and the Assembly has been a privilege. As a Senator from San Diego, there is one group in particular that I have been both humbled and honored to represent: our active duty service members and veterans. These amazing men and women have defended our freedom, and we must always be grateful for their service. Every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine wakes up, puts on their boots, says the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and does everything our Nation asks of them to defend our freedom. After their service ends, these brave men and women return to our communities where they continue as servant leaders by being business owners, youth sports coaches, school volunteers, and more.
I am proud of the legislation we passed to ensure that California keeps its promise to our service members, veterans, and their families. We were able to thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice by giving them free access to the great California State Parks, help ensure that veterans using their GI Bill receive in state tuition, and take care of those veterans who may find themselves homeless get the assistance they need to get back on their feet. In recognizing the valor of non-citizens serving in the California National Guard, I wanted to make sure they would have the information they need on how to become a US Citizen- a benefit they have earned with their service.
With all of the successes, I know there is still more to be done. Our legislative efforts over several years to exempt veterans’ halls from having to pay property taxes and exempting the retirement pay and survivors’ benefits for children and widows of fallen service members from being taxed as income must move forward. My hope is that another fierce advocate for veterans in the legislature will carry these important bills in the future.
I want to thank the many military and veteran organizations that partnered with me to deliver results for our veterans over the last 12 years and honored me with their prestigious recognitions. It has been my greatest privilege as your Senator to ensure that California keeps its promise to those who serve.
Legislator of the year:
American Veterans - 2012
American Legion - 2010 & 2016
Veterans of Foreign Wars California Department - 2014-2015
California State Commanders Veterans Council - 2015
Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council - 2015
California Council of Chapters Military Officers Association of America - 2017
Certificates of Appreciation:
California Association of County Veterans Service Officers - 2010, 2012, & 2015
The American Legion San Diego, District 22 - 2015
Blue Star Families - 2017
Honoring Those Who Served
AB 257, Free Park Passes for Disabled Veterans (2007), Authored by Anderson – This bill grants free state park passes to disabled veterans and recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
SB 725, Veterans Buildings and Memorials (2013), Authored by Anderson - This bill expands the types of local governments that cannot revoke the dedication of a specified veterans’ facility to include a city, or city and county.
AB 13, In-State Tuition for Veterans (2014), Anderson co-authored with Assemblymembers Chavez and Conway – This bill ensures that Veterans attending California public universities and colleges receive their GI Bill benefits by granting them in-state tuition.
AB 388, Combating Veteran Homelessness (2015), Anderson co-authored with Assemblymember Chang - This bill ensures success for veterans in supportive or transitional housing by requiring the Department of Housing and Community Development to report annually on the effectiveness of the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Program.
SB 1012, Flags Purchased by the State (2016), Anderson co-authored with Senator Nguyen - This bill requires that any flag of the United States or the State of California purchased by the state or any local government agency must be made in the United States.
SB 339, Veterans Treatment Courts (2017), Anderson co-authored with Senator Roth - Veterans’ courts understand the special circumstances of United States military veterans charged with criminal offenses, particularly those who have suffered severe trauma in the course of their service. San Diego completed a 36-month assessment of their program in 2014 demonstrating reduced costs, reduced incarceration, and improved educational outcomes. This bill provides the state with data regarding the effectiveness of veterans’ courts and potential barriers to establishing this model in all counties throughout the state.
SB 156, Citizenship Assistance for Veterans (2017), Authored by Anderson – This bill protects the rights and benefits of veterans by requiring the California Department of Veterans Affairs and the California National Guard to assist veterans and current members of the Guard in completing the necessary forms and paperwork to apply for citizenship as is their right in exchange for their service.
SCR 82, Memorial for the California Veterans of the Iraq War (2012), Anderson co-authored with Senator Blakeslee - This resolution recognizes the contributions and sacrifices of U.S. military members, who have served in in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families, by erecting a memorial in the State Capitol Park. It also expresses intent to enact future legislation authorizing the creation of a larger memorial commemorating and thanking those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
SCR 40, Korean War Armistice Day (2013), Anderson co-authored with Senator Hueso - This resolution proclaims July 27, 2013, as Korean War Armistice Day, and urges Californians to observe the anniversary and calls upon them to honor and give thanks to Korean War veterans. This resolution also urges the Governor to instruct state departments, agencies, interest groups, organizations, and individuals to fly the U.S. flag at half-mast on July 27, 2013 in memory of Korean War veterans.
SCR 118, Remembrance of Military Sacrifice (2014), Authored by Anderson – This resolution encourages Californians to honor and remember our fallen heroes by lowering the flag of the United States to half-staff on the 21st day of each month and pausing for a moment of silence for 21 seconds.
ACR 36, California Association of County Veterans Service Officers (2015), Anderson co-authored with Assemblymember Gray – This resolution recognizes the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers for helping veterans secure their earned federal and state benefits over the past 70 years.
SCR 78, Team AMVETS (2015), Anderson co-authored with Senators Nielsen and Hueso – This resolution commends AMVETS Department of California for their efforts over the last 70 years providing benefits and services to the brave men and women that have defended our freedom.
SCR 47, National Military Appreciation Month (2015), Anderson co-authored with Senator Fuller – This resolution recognizes the service and sacrifice of our brave service men and women by dedicating May 2015 as National Military Appreciation Month.
Failed to pass:
SB 1152 (2014) & SB 2 (2015) Property Tax Exemptions for Veteran’s Organization, Authored by Anderson – These bills would have allowed the veteran’s organization property tax exemption to apply to real property owned by veteran’s organizations that is used for fraternal, lodge, or social club purposes.
AB 1077 Income Taxes Exclusion on Military Retirement Benefits (2009), Authored by Anderson – This bill would have excluded from gross income for retired pay and survivor annuities received by an individual as a result of the active service of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.