Iowa Governor Chet Culver traveled to Fort Dodge Monday, where he signed three bills dealing with veterans issues into law. Culver says one the bills provides $600,000 to improve the operations at county veterans services offices.
Culver says the state wants to do a better job of reaching out to all veterans to be sure they’re using all the services available, and beefing up the 99 county offices "should go a long way toward helping our veterans." Culver says modernizing the offices will help them pull in more federal funding for veterans.
"We’re really gonna require that they start using the internet for example, and doing a better job of reaching out through different means of communication," Culver says. He says that will really help with accessibility and access to information.
Another bill reopens the state bonus program for Vietnam veterans. Culver says there were "residency barriers" and bureaucratic requirements that made it difficult for Vietnam veterans to get their bonus pay. He says this bill makes it easier for "hundreds if not thousands of Iowans who served in Vietnam to get their well-deserved and long overdue bonus." Culver hopes Vietnam veterans who were blocked from the bonus program will give it another try.
Culver says those vets who did serve and didn’t receive their bonus pay should contact their county veterans affairs office to see if they’re eligible. Culver says the bonus is about $500, but he’s not sure how many veterans are due the bonus. Culver signed the veterans bills while on a tour to tout the accomplishments of the recent legislative session.