Session of 1997
SENATE BILL No. 297
By Senators Hensley, Downey, Feleciano, Gilstrap, Goodwin,
Karr, Lee, Petty and Steineger
9 AN ACT concerning the Kansas commission on veterans affairs; relating
10 to Persian Gulf War syndrome; establishing an advisory board; pre-
11 scribing powers, duties, functions and guidelines for the commission
12 and advisory board; providing for confidentiality of certain information
13 and exceptions thereto; establishing the Persian Gulf War veterans
14 health initiative fund; providing for certain contributions.
16 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
17 Section 1. This act shall be known as the Persian Gulf War veterans
18 health initiative act.
19 Sec. 2. As used in sections 1 through 11, and amendments thereto,
20 unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
21 (a) ``Birth defect'' means any physical or mental abnormality or con-
22 dition, including any susceptibility to any illness or condition other than
23 normal childhood illnesses or conditions.
24 (b) ``Board'' means the Persian Gulf War veterans health initiative
25 board established by section 3, and amendments thereto.
26 (c) ``Commission'' means the Kansas commission on veterans affairs.
27 (d) ``Director'' means the executive director of the Kansas commis-
28 sion on veterans affairs.
29 (e) ``Gulf War syndrome'' means the wide range of physical and men-
30 tal conditions, problems and illnesses that are connected with service in
31 the armed forces of the United States during and in the area of operations
32 of the Persian Gulf War.
33 (f) ``Veteran'' means a person who is a resident of Kansas who was a
34 member of the armed forces of the United States of America and who
35 served in such armed forces in the area of operations of the Persian Gulf
36 War during the Persian Gulf War or thereafter regardless of whether such
37 person is still actively serving in the armed forces or reserve.
38 Sec. 3. (a) There is hereby established with the commission an ad-
39 visory board known to be the Persian Gulf War veterans health initiative
40 board. The board shall be advisory to the commission in the implemen-
41 tation and administration of this act.
42 (b) (1) The board shall consist of nine members appointed by the
2 (2) At least three members shall be veterans. The director shall notify
3 the state level unit of the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of
4 Foreign Wars of the United States and the American Legion and request
5 a list of three nominations of veterans from each such veterans' organi-
6 zation. The commission shall appoint one veteran as a member from each
8 (3) One member shall be qualified from each of the medical spe-
9 cializations of epidemiology, toxicology and genetics. One member shall
10 be qualified in one of the behavioral sciences in the speciality area of
11 family dynamics. The director shall notify one or more professional so-
12 cieties or associations which represent the medical or behavioral science
13 specialty area required and request a list of three nominations from that
14 specialty area. The commission shall appoint one member of the board
15 from each list.
16 (4) Two legislators, one from each house, shall be appointed to the
17 board with the speaker of the house of representatives and president of
18 the senate each appointing a member.
19 (c) Within 90 days of the effective date of this act, the commission,
20 the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate
21 shall appoint the initial members of the board. Of the initial appointments
22 to the board by the commission, three shall be for a term of one year,
23 two shall be for a term of two years and two shall be for a term ending
24 three years after the date of the initial appointment. After the initial ap-
25 pointments, terms office of the members appointed by the commission
26 shall be for three years but no person shall be appointed for more than
27 two successive three-year terms. The term of office of each member ap-
28 pointed by the speaker of the house of representatives or the president
29 of the senate shall end on the first day of the regular session of the leg-
30 islature which commences in the first odd-numbered year occurring after
31 the year such member was appointed.
32 (d) Each member of the board shall serve until a successor is ap-
33 pointed and qualified. Whenever a vacancy occurs in the membership of
34 the board for any reason other than the expiration of a member's term
35 of office, the commission, speaker of the house of representatives or pres-
36 ident of the senate shall appoint a successor of like qualifications to fill
37 the unexpired term in accordance with this section. In the case of any
38 vacancy occurring in the position of a board member who was appointed
39 from a list of nominations submitted by a veterans' organization, the di-
40 rector shall notify that veterans' organization of the vacant position and
41 request a list of three nominations of veterans from which the commission
42 shall appoint a successor to the board. In the case of any vacancy occurring
43 in the position of a board member who is qualified in one of the speciality
1 areas listed in subsection (b)(3) after the initial appointments, the director
2 shall notify one or more professional societies or associations which rep-
3 resent the medical or behavioral science speciality required for the vacant
4 position and request a list of three nominations from that speciality area
5 from which the commission shall appoint a successor to the board.
6 (e) Annually, the board shall elect a chairperson, vice-chairperson and
7 secretary from among its members and shall meet at least four times each
8 year at the call of the chairperson.
9 (f) The members of the board attending meetings of the board or
10 attending a subcommittee meeting thereof authorized by the board shall
11 receive no compensation for their services but shall be paid subsistence
12 allowances, mileage and other expenses as provided in subsections (b),
13 (c) and (d) of K.S.A. 75-3223, and amendments thereto.
14 Sec. 4. (a) The commission shall develop comprehensive surveys, or
15 adopt one or more existing surveys, to be conducted to determine and
16 study the physical and mental conditions, problems and illnesses, includ-
17 ing birth defects, as well as the employment, social, emotional and family
18 problems experienced by veterans, their spouses and family members
19 since the veteran's return to Kansas and by any other persons residing in
20 Kansas who are suffering from Gulf War syndrome.
21 (b) The commission shall develop or adopt the surveys within the first
22 four months after the effective date of this act. The commission shall
23 administer the surveys and review the completed surveys with the board.
24 The commission shall compile the results of the surveys and develop
25 recommendations for the legislature based thereon. The director shall
26 report the results to appropriate federal agencies and shall request ad-
27 ditional assistance for veterans commensurate with the director's duties
28 under K.S.A. 73-1209, and amendments thereto.
29 (c) The aggregate amount expended for the development and ad-
30 ministration of surveys and studies set out under this section and for board
31 expenses, including the position established by section 5, and amend-
32 ments thereto, shall not exceed $100,000 per fiscal year.
33 (d) The commission shall request the different media, including ra-
34 dio, television and newspaper, to make public service announcements
35 publicizing information on the Persian Gulf War surveys and inform Kan-
36 sans of the health problems identified and where help is available. The
37 public service announcements should be published no less than four times
38 a year.
39 Sec. 5. There is hereby established with the commission a full-time
40 position dedicated to seeking and applying for grants and other moneys
41 to fund activities under this act, to assist in the preparation and admin-
42 istration of surveys under this act, to promote programs and activities
43 designed to assist persons affected by Gulf War syndrome to receive the
1 help they need and to perform such other duties as the chairperson of
2 the Commission may prescribe. Within 90 days of the effective date of
3 this act, the commission shall appoint a qualified individual to this posi-
5 Sec. 6. (a) The commission shall contact families of any children born
6 after August 1, 1991, who are on any state birth defect list maintained by
7 the department of health and environment, to determine whether either
8 of the two biological parents served in the Persian Gulf War. If either
9 parent did serve in the Persian Gulf War, the veteran's child's name shall
10 be listed in the state Persian Gulf War registry.
11 (b) The commission shall request that all health programs of the state
12 ask all participants in such programs whether they are Persian Gulf War
13 veterans, and if so, have the veterans complete a survey under section 4,
14 and amendments thereto.
15 (c) The commission shall establish and maintain a state Persian Gulf
16 War registry containing the names of veterans, their spouses, family mem-
17 bers and other persons in Kansas who have been affected by Gulf War
19 (d) The commission shall inform veterans of any state and federal
20 programs available to meet the veterans' needs.
21 Sec. 7. Subject to funds available, the commission shall conduct a
22 fiscal impact study, aimed at identifying the annual budgetary impact of
23 Gulf War syndrome on Kansas in terms of increased costs of education,
24 medical coverage, correction of birth defects and other expenses identi-
25 fied through the results of the surveys conducted under section 4, and
26 amendments thereto.
27 Sec. 8. The information obtained through any survey conducted un-
28 der section 4, and amendments thereto, shall be confidential and shall
29 not be disclosed or made public, upon subpoena or otherwise, beyond
30 the requirements of section 10, and amendments thereto, except such
31 information may be disclosed if:
32 (a) No person can be identified in the information to be disclosed
33 and the disclosure is for statistical purposes;
34 (b) all persons who are identifiable in the information to be disclosed
35 consent in writing to its disclosure;
36 (c) the disclosure is necessary, and only to the extent necessary, to
37 protect the public health;
38 (d) a medical emergency exists and the disclosure is to medical per-
39 sonnel qualified to treat infectious or contagious diseases, except that any
40 information disclosed pursuant to this paragraph shall be disclosed only
41 to the extent necessary to protect the health or life of a named party; or
42 (e) the information to be disclosed is required in a court proceeding
43 involving child abuse and the information is disclosed in camera.
1 Sec. 9. The commission shall adopt rules and regulations to imple-
2 ment and administer the provisions of sections 1 through 11, and amend-
3 ments thereto.
4 Sec. 10. The Kansas commission on veterans affairs shall cooperate
5 and share information with appropriate state and federal agencies as nec-
6 essary for the purposes of this act to aid veterans and other persons in
7 obtaining aid and relief from the effects of Gulf War syndrome. Such
8 cooperation shall include reporting the survey statistics to appropriate
9 federal agencies to bring issues to the notice of appropriate agencies.
10 Sec. 11. There is hereby established in the state treasury the Persian
11 Gulf War veterans health initiative fund which shall be administered by
12 the Kansas commission on veterans affairs. All moneys received from any
13 grants from federal or other nonstate sources, from contributions under
14 section 12, and amendments thereto, or from any other source for the
15 purpose of financing the activities of the board or the development or
16 administration of the surveys developed by the board under this act, shall
17 be deposited in the state treasury and credited to the Persian Gulf War
18 veterans health initiative fund. All expenditures from the Persian Gulf
19 War veterans health initiative fund shall be for the purposes of financing
20 the activities of the commission for the implementation and administra-
21 tion, including the activities of the board and the development and ad-
22 ministration of the surveys under this act and shall be made in accordance
23 with appropriation acts upon warrants of the director of accounts and
24 reports issued pursuant to vouchers approved by the Kansas commission
25 on veterans affairs or the commission's designee.
26 Sec. 12. (a) Each Kansas state individual income tax return form shall
27 contain a designation as follows:
28 ``Persian Gulf War veterans health initiative fund. Check if you wish to
29 donate, in addition to your tax liability, or designate from your refund,
30 the amount of _________.''
31 (b) The director of taxation of the department of revenue shall de-
32 termine annually the total amount designated for use by the Kansas com-
33 mission on veterans affairs pursuant to subsection (a) and shall report
34 such amount to the state treasurer who shall transfer from the income
35 tax refund fund the entire amount thereof to the Persian Gulf War vet-
36 erans health initiative fund. In the case where donations are made pur-
37 suant to subsection (a), the director shall remit the entire amount thereof
38 to the state treasurer who shall deposit the same in the state treasury.
39 The state treasurer shall credit the amount certified by the director as
40 the cost of collecting the amount of donations remitted and administering
41 the provisions of this section, which cost shall not exceed 1% of the
42 amount of donations remitted, to the state general fund and shall credit
43 the balance of the donations remitted to the Persian Gulf War veterans
1 health initiative fund.
2 Sec. 13. On July 1, 1997, the director of accounts and reports shall
3 transfer $100,000 from the state general fund to the Persian Gulf War
4 veterans health initiative fund.
5 Sec. 14. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
6 publication in the statute book.