CHAPTER 250

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR PAYMENTS TO PERSONS WHO SERVED OR WILL SERVE IN THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING AUGUST 5, 1964, AND ENDING WITH THE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES IN THE VIETNAM CONFLICT, AND TO DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES OF SUCH PERSONS; TO RECREATE AND REESTABLISH THE DELAWARE VETERANS' MILITARY PAY COMMISSION TO CARRY OUT CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO AUTHORIZE THE SELECTION OF ASSISTANTS TO SAID COMMISSION; TO PROVIDE FOR A REVIEW OF DECISIONS AFFECTING CLAIMS MADE UNDER THE ACT; TO MAKE APPROPRIATIONS AND TO AUTHORIZE THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS AND BOND ANTICIPATION NOTES OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO ACCEPT FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTARY FUNDS FOR SAID PURPOSE; AND TO PRESCRIBE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (three-fourths of all the members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. This Act shall be known as the "Veterans' Military Pay Act No. III."

Section 2. As used in this Act:

(a) "Veteran" means any person, male or female, who served honorably for 90 or more consecutive clays on active duty in the armed forces of the United States, or if less than 90 days, died or was discharged or released by reason of an actual service-incurred injury or disability, and who was a resident of the State of Delaware as defined in this Act, and who has not received a similar payment from another state, provided that active duty for training purposes only shall not be counted as service in the armed forces under this Act.

(b) "Armed Forces" means the United States Army, Army of the United States, United States Air Force, United States Air Force Reserve, United States Navy, United States Naval Reserve, United States Marine Corps, United States Marine Corps Reserve, United States Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard Reserve, Women's Army Corps, Women's Auxiliary--Navy, Women in the Air Force, Women's Auxiliary--United States Marine Corps, Women's Auxiliary--United States Coast Guard, Army Nurse Corps, Navy Nurse Corps and Air Force Nurse Corps.

(c) "Beneficiary" means, in relation to a deceased veteran: (1) surviving husband or wife; (2) surviving child or children, share and share alike; (3) surviving mother and surviving father in equal shares, or if only one parent be living, all to such parent ; (4) surviving person standing in loco parentis; in order named and none other.

(d) "Served honorably" includes only such service as is evidenced as follows :

(i) an honorable discharge or separation from service in a manner other than dishonorable through no fault or miconduct of such person ; or

(ii) in the case of an officer, a certificate of service; or

() in the case of a veteran who has not been discharged or who died in service, a certificate from the appropriate service authority of the armed forces stating either that his or her service was honorable or that he or she was separated from the armed forces under conditions other than dishonorable.

(e) "Resident" means a person who:

(i) was born in and lived in the State of Delaware until entrance into the armed forces of the United States or was inducted into service from the State of Delaware; or

(ii) was born elsewhere but had been a legal resident of the State of Delaware for at least twelve (12) months immediately prior to entrance into military service.

(f) "Commission" means the Delaware Military Pay Commission reestablished by this Act.

Section 3. (a) Each veteran, who during the period from August 5, 1964 to the cessation of hostilities in the Vietnam Conflict as declared by the Secretary of Defense or the President of the United 'States, served on active duty within any of the States of the United States or the District of Columbia shall be paid the sum of $15 for each month of service or major fraction thereof ; provided, however, the maximum amount payable under this subsection shall not exceed the sum of $225.

(b) Each veteran, who during the period from August 5, 1964 to the cessation of hostilities in the Vietnam Conflict as declared by the Secretary of Defense or the President of the United States, served on active duty outside the limits of the States of the United States or the District of Columbia shall be paid the sum of $20 for each month of service or major fraction thereof ; provided, however, that the amount payable under this subsection shall not exceed the sum of $300.

(c) In the event the veteran is deceased, the payment to which he would have been entitled under the provisions of this Act had he survived shall be paid to his or her beneficiary.

(d) In addition to the benefits otherwise provided by this section, in the event the veteran died during his service and while in the course of or as a direct result of the performance of his duty, his or her beneficiary shall be paid the added sum of $300.

(e) In the event the veteran has a 60% or greater service-connected disability as determined by the Veteran Administration records at time of application for payment, the veteran shall be entitled to a payment of $300 regardless of the length of his or her service.

(f) No payments made under this Act to any veteran or to his or her beneficiary shall exceed $300 except pursuant to the provisions of subsection (d).

(g) No claim for payment under this Act shall be assigned, or subject to garnishment, attachment, or levy or execution.

(h) The payments herein provided for are declared by the General Assembly to be gifts or gratuities and shall not be deemed to be pay for services rendered, nor shall said payments be taxable in the State of Delaware as income.

Section 4. (a) The Delaware Veterans' Military Pay Commission is hereby reestablished. It shall now be composed of 5 members, who shall be appointed by the Governor, by and with the consent of a majority of all the members elected to the Senate, and to serve at the Governor's pleasure. One member shall be designated as Chairman by the Governor. No more than 3 members shall be members of the same political party. Two members shall be members of the other major political party.

(b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall be the State Archivist, who, with the advice and approval of the said Commission, shall have the power and the duty of carrying out the provisions of this Act relating to payments to veterans and beneficiaries and shall have charge and control of the complete scheme of payments authorized in this Act, and for this purpose the said Commission may adopt general rules for the making of such payments, for the ascertainment of veterans and beneficiaries in accordance with Section 3 (a) and Section 3 (c), and for determining the amounts to which such veterans or beneficiaries are entitled under this Act and, in general, shall establish methods and procedure and do whatever is necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act relating to payments to veterans and beneficiaries.

(c) The members of the said Commission shall receive compensation at the rate of $20 for each day that the Commission shall sit, and they shall be allowed ten cents per mile travel allowance to and from their home and the place designated for the meetings of the Commission. The members of the Commission shall not receive such compensation or travel allowance for more than 24 days in any calendar year.

(d) The Commission may select one of its members to be its Secretary or it may direct the Executive Director, herein provided for, to act in that capacity.

Section 5. (a) Each veteran or his or her beneficiary entitled to payments under this Act shall make application to the Executive Director upon such forms as may be prescribed ; provided that , if the veteran is incompetent or his or her beneficiary is incompetent, application shall be made by his or her guardian or trustee.

(b) No payments authorized by this Act shall be made after the lapse of one year after the cessation of hostilities in the Vietnam Conflict as declared by the Secretary of Defense or the President of the United States.

Section 6. The State Archivist serving as Executive Director may add temporary clerical employees to his staff and may fix their compensation as he may deem necessary for carrying out the provisions of this Act relating to payments to veterans and beneficiaries, giving preference in making such appointments to veterans having a service-connected disability.

Section 7. (a) There shall be a right of review to every veteran or beneficiary under this Act.

(b) Any person aggrieved by the decisions affecting him or her in the matter of payments provided for in this Act may appeal for a review of such decisions within 90 days after final notice thereof to the Commission and shall be entitled to a hearing before said Commission. The decision of said Commission shall be final.

(c) Whoever intentionally makes or aids and abets another in making a false statement, oral or written, relating to a material fact concerning or affecting a claim for payment under the provisions of this Act or who demands, accepts or receives any compensation for his services in prosecuting any claim under the provisions of this Act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 8. The expenses of the administration of this Act shall be paid from state funds, appropriated through the Budget Appropriation Bill upon warrants duly approved by the State Archivist. The Commission shall take office on July 1, 1968 and thereafter implement the intent of this Act.

Section 9. There is appropriated to the Delaware Veterans' Military Pay Commission created by this Act the sum of Three Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($3,500,000), or so much thereof as shall be received from the sale of the bonds and notes hereinafter authorized, which shall be used to carry out the provisions of this Act.

Section 10. Any of said appropriated funds remaining unexpended at the end of any fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund, but shall remain to be used for the purposes set forth in this Act.

Section 11. The said sum of $3,500,000 shall be borrowed by the issuance of bonds and bond anticipation notes upon the full faith and credit of the State of Delaware. Such bonds and notes shall be issued in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 74, Title 29, Delaware Code. For purpose of identification, the bonds issued pursuant to this authorization Act may be known, styled or referred to as "Delaware Veterans" Bonus Bonds of 1967."

Section 12. There is hereby appropriated from the General Fund such sums as may be necessary for the expenses incident to the issuance of the bonds and notes herein authorized, and such further sums as may be necessary to pay any interest which becomes due on such bonds and notes during the current fiscal year and such further sums as may be necessary for the repayment of the principal of any of the said bonds which become due during the current fiscal year. Vouchers for the payment of the expenses incident to the issuance of bonds and notes and for the interest and repayment of said notes shall be signed by the Secretary of State by and with the approval of the Issuing Officers. Any moneys received from the premium and accrued interest on the sale of said bonds shall be deposited to the credit of the General Fund.

Section 13. The Budget Appropriation Bill which shall be enacted and approved by the General Assembly for each subsequent fiscal year or biennium shall contain under the Debt Service Item provisions for the payment of interest and principal maturities of the bonds (or notes which are not to be funded by the issuance of bonds) issued under the authority of this Act, and such of the revenues of the State of Delaware as are not prohibited by constitutional provisions or committed by preceding statutes for other purposes are hereby pledged for the redemption and cancellation of said bonds and payment of interest thereon.

Section 14. Should the Congress of the United States adopt measures providing for financial aid or other assistance available to the State of Delaware for carrying out the provisions of this Act, the Commission or the State Treasurer is authorized on behalf of the State of Delaware to accept any such financial aid or other assistance, and should there be such financial aid, the Commission shall deposit with the State Treasurer any funds received and to expend the same for carrying out the provisions of this Act in accordance with whatever conditions are imposed by the law of the United States providing such aid or other assistance, upon warrants signed by proper officers of the Commission and approved by the Auditor of Accounts.

Section 15. If any clause, sentence, section, provision or part of this Act shall be adjudged to be unconstitutional or invalid for any reason by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not impair, invalidate or affect the remainder of this Act, which shall remain in full effect.

Section 16. The Commission shall make a complete report of its administration of this Act to the Governor and to each House of the General Assembly on January 31, 1969. Thereafter, the Commission shall submit to the Governor and to each House of the General Assembly an annual report on or before January 31 of each year commencing with January 31, 1970. A final report shall be made by the Commission to the Governor and to the Executive Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau for transmission to each House of the General Assembly within one year after the termination of this Act as provided in Section 5 (b) above.

Approved January 15, 1968.