Ch. 39 1997 Session Laws of Kansas 109
An Act concerning the Kansas commission on veterans affairs;
relating to Persian Gulf War
syndrome; establishing an advisory board; prescribing powers, duties, functions and guidelines for the commission and advisory board; providing for confidentiality of certain information and exceptions thereto; establishing the Persian Gulf War veterans health initiative fund.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of
Section 1. This act shall be known as the Persian Gulf War
health initiative act.
Sec. 2. As used in sections 1 through 11, and amendments
unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) ``Birth defect'' means any physical or mental abnormality or
dition, including any susceptibility to any illness or condition other than
normal childhood illnesses or conditions.
(b) ``Board'' means the Persian Gulf War veterans health
board established by section 3, and amendments thereto.
(c) ``Commission'' means the Kansas commission on veterans
(d) ``Director'' means the executive director of the Kansas
sion on veterans affairs.
(e) ``Gulf War syndrome'' means the wide range of physical and
tal conditions, problems and illnesses that are connected with service in
the armed forces of the United States during and in the area of operations
of the Persian Gulf War.
(f) ``Veteran'' means a person who is a resident of Kansas who
member of the armed forces of the United States of America and who
served in such armed forces in the area of operations of the Persian Gulf
War during the Persian Gulf War or thereafter regardless of whether such
person is still actively serving in the armed forces or reserve.
Sec. 3. (a) There is hereby established with the commission an
visory board known to be the Persian Gulf War veterans health initiative
110 1997 Session Laws of Kansas Ch. 39
board. The board shall be advisory to the commission in the
tation and administration of this act.
(b) The board shall consist of nine members appointed as
(1) At least three members shall be veterans. The director shall
the state level unit of the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of
Foreign Wars of the United States and the American Legion and request
a list of three nominations of veterans from each such veterans' organi-
zation. The governor shall appoint one veteran as a member from each
(2) One member shall be qualified from each of the medical
cializations of epidemiology, toxicology and genetics. One member shall
be qualified in one of the behavioral sciences in the speciality area of
family dynamics. The director shall notify one or more professional so-
cieties or associations which represent the medical or behavioral science
specialty area required and request a list of three nominations from that
specialty area. The commission shall appoint one member of the board
from each list.
(3) Two legislators, one from each house, shall be appointed to
board with the speaker of the house of representatives and president of
the senate each appointing a member. One legislator shall be a member
of the democratic party and one legislator shall be a member of the re-
(c) Within 90 days of the effective date of this act, the
commission, the speaker of the house of representatives and the president
of the senate shall appoint the initial members of the board. Of the initial
appointments to the board by the governor, one shall be for a term of
one year, one shall be for a term of two years and one shall be for a term
ending three years after the date of the initial appointment. Of the initial
appointments to the board by the commission, two shall be for a term of
one year, one shall be for a term of two years and one shall be for a term
ending three years after the date of the initial appointment. After the
initial appointments, terms office of the members appointed by the gov-
ernor or the commission shall be for three years but no person shall be
appointed for more than two successive three-year terms. The term of
office of each member appointed by the speaker of the house of repre-
sentatives or the president of the senate shall end on the first day of the
regular session of the legislature which commences in the first odd-num-
bered year occurring after the year such member was appointed.
(d) Each member of the board shall serve until a successor is
pointed and qualified. Whenever a vacancy occurs in the membership of
the board for any reason other than the expiration of a member's term
of office, the governor, the commission, speaker of the house of repre-
sentatives or president of the senate shall appoint a successor of like
qualifications to fill the unexpired term in accordance with this section.
In the case of any vacancy occurring in the position of a board
Ch. 39 1997 Session Laws of Kansas 111
who was appointed from a list of nominations submitted by a
organization, the governor shall notify that veterans' organization of the
vacant position and request a list of three nominations of veterans from
which the governor shall appoint a successor to the board. In the case of
any vacancy occurring in the position of a board member who is qualified
in one of the speciality areas listed in subsection (b)(3) after the initial
appointments, the director shall notify one or more professional societies
or associations which represent the medical or behavioral science speci-
ality required for the vacant position and request a list of three nomina-
tions from that speciality area from which the commission shall appoint
a successor to the board.
(e) Annually, the board shall elect a chairperson,
secretary from among its members and shall meet at least four times each
year at the call of the chairperson.
(f) The members of the board attending meetings of the board
attending a subcommittee meeting thereof authorized by the board shall
receive no compensation for their services but shall be paid subsistence
allowances, mileage and other expenses as provided in subsections (b),
(c) and (d) of K.S.A. 75-3223, and amendments thereto.
Sec. 4. (a) The commission shall develop comprehensive surveys,
adopt one or more existing surveys, to be conducted to determine and
study the physical and mental conditions, problems and illnesses, includ-
ing birth defects, as well as the employment, social, emotional and family
problems experienced by veterans, their spouses and family members
since the veteran's return to Kansas and by any other persons residing in
Kansas who are suffering from Gulf War syndrome.
(b) The commission shall develop or adopt the surveys within the
four months after the effective date of this act. The commission shall
administer the surveys and review the completed surveys with the board.
The commission shall compile the results of the surveys and develop
recommendations for the legislature based thereon. The director shall
report the results to appropriate federal agencies and shall request ad-
ditional assistance for veterans commensurate with the director's duties
under K.S.A. 73-1209, and amendments thereto.
(c) The aggregate amount expended for the development and
ministration of surveys and studies set out under this section and for board
expenses, including the position established by section 5, and amend-
ments thereto, shall not exceed $100,000 per fiscal year.
(d) The commission shall request the different media, including
dio, television and newspaper, to make public service announcements
publicizing information on the Persian Gulf War surveys and inform Kan-
sans of the health problems identified and where help is available. The
public service announcements should be published no less than four times
112 1997 Session Laws of Kansas Ch. 39
Sec. 5. There is hereby established with the commission a
position dedicated to seeking and applying for grants and other moneys
to fund activities under this act, to assist in the preparation and admin-
istration of surveys under this act, to promote programs and activities
designed to assist persons affected by Gulf War syndrome to receive the
help they need and to perform such other duties as the chairperson of
the Commission may prescribe. Within 90 days of the effective date of
this act, the commission shall appoint a qualified individual to this posi-
Sec. 6. (a) The commission shall request that the department
health and environment contact families of any children born after August
1, 1991, who are on any state birth defect list maintained by the depart-
ment, to inform the families of the availability of the survey and the
registry if either parent served in the Persian Gulf War. If the family
voluntarily participates in the survey, the veteran's child's name shall be
listed in the state Persian Gulf War registry.
(b) The commission shall determine the appropriate health
and the confidential mechanisms that shall be utilized to ask participants
in such programs whether they are Persian Gulf War veterans, and if so,
offer the veterans voluntary participation in the survey under section 4,
and amendments thereto.
(c) The commission shall establish and maintain a state Persian
War registry containing the names of veterans, their spouses, family mem-
bers and other persons in Kansas who have been affected by Gulf War
(d) The commission shall inform veterans of any state and
programs available to meet the veterans' needs.
(e) Any person who in good faith provides information to the
mission under the provisions of this section shall be immune from civil
or criminal liability therefor.
Sec. 7. Subject to funds available, the commission shall conduct
fiscal impact study, aimed at identifying the annual budgetary impact of
Gulf War syndrome on Kansas in terms of increased costs of education,
medical coverage, correction of birth defects and other expenses identi-
fied through the results of the surveys conducted under section 4, and
Sec. 8. The information obtained through any survey conducted
der section 4, and amendments thereto, shall be confidential and shall
not be disclosed or made public, upon subpoena or otherwise, beyond
the requirements of section 10, and amendments thereto, except such
information may be disclosed if:
(a) No person can be identified in the information to be
and the disclosure is for statistical purposes;
Ch. 39 1997 Session Laws of Kansas 113
(b) all persons who are identifiable in the information to be
consent in writing to its disclosure;
(c) the disclosure is necessary, and only to the extent
protect the public health;
(d) a medical emergency exists and the disclosure is to medical
sonnel qualified to treat infectious or contagious diseases, except that any
information disclosed pursuant to this paragraph shall be disclosed only
to the extent necessary to protect the health or life of a named party; or
(e) the information to be disclosed is required in a court
involving child abuse and the information is disclosed in camera.
Sec. 9. The commission shall adopt rules and regulations to
ment and administer the provisions of sections 1 through 11, and amend-
Sec. 10. The Kansas commission on veterans affairs shall
and share information with appropriate state and federal agencies as nec-
essary for the purposes of this act to aid veterans and other persons in
obtaining aid and relief from the effects of Gulf War syndrome. Such
cooperation shall include reporting the survey statistics to appropriate
federal agencies to bring issues to the notice of appropriate agencies.
Sec. 11. There is hereby established in the state treasury the
Gulf War veterans health initiative fund which shall be administered by
the Kansas commission on veterans affairs. All moneys received from any
grants from federal or other nonstate sources, from contributions or from
any other source for the purpose of financing the activities of the board
or the development or administration of the surveys developed by the
board under this act, shall be deposited in the state treasury and credited
to the Persian Gulf War veterans health initiative fund. All expenditures
from the Persian Gulf War veterans health initiative fund shall be for the
purposes of financing the activities of the commission for the implemen-
tation and administration, including the activities of the board and the
development and administration of the surveys under this act and shall
be made in accordance with appropriation acts upon warrants of the di-
rector of accounts and reports issued pursuant to vouchers approved by
the Kansas commission on veterans affairs or the commission's designee.
Sec. 12. On July 1, 1997, the director of accounts and reports
transfer $100,000 from the state general fund to the Persian Gulf War
veterans health initiative fund.
Sec. 13. This act shall take effect and be in force from and
publication in the statute book.
Approved April 1, 1997.