Non Commissioned Officers Association Air Academy Chapter 300

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Click here to view NCOA President H. Gene Overstreet's statement to the Joint Hearing of The Committees on Veterans Affairs, United States Senate and United States House Of Representatives on March 16, 2011.

March 2011- Supreme Court Decisions

Additional Information on the Supreme Court decisions is available at http://www.supremecourt.gov/.

 Snyder v. Phelps Et Al. - For the past 20 years Westboro Baptist Church has picketed military funerals to communicate its belief that God hates the United States for its tolerance of homosexuality, particularly in America’s military, and have picketed and demonstrated on a number of other cases.   Fred Phelps, who founded the church and six Westboro Baptist parishioners (all relatives of Phelps) traveled to Maryland to picket the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq in the line of duty. The picketing took place on public land approximately 1,000 feet from the church where the funeral was held, in accordance with guidance from local law enforcement officers. The picketers peacefully displayed their signs—stating, e.g., “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Fags Doom Nations,” “America is Doomed,” “Priests Rape Boys,” and “You’re Going to Hell”—for about 30 minutes before the funeral began. Matthew Snyder’s father (Snyder), petitioner here, saw the tops of the picketers’ signs when driving to the funeral, but did not learn what was written on the signs until watching a news broadcast later that night. Snyder filed a diversity action against Phelps, his daughters—who participated in the picketing—and the church (collectively Westboro) alleging, as relevant here, state tort claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion, and civil conspiracy. 

Held: The First Amendment shields Westboro from tort liability for its picketing in this case.

 

The Supreme Court is correct to protect the basic right of free speech which allows people and organizations to demonstrate on public grounds as a matter of Free Speech. Protesting of military funerals sanctioned under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution which ironically all military personnel have sworn an oath to protect!

 

It is reprehensible in the perspective of NCOA that those who die in the line of duty should have their funerals protested by despicable demonstrations that dishonor the noble military service of those who have fallen in the line of duty.  The Westboro Baptist Church now “sanctioned” by the Supreme Court will undoubtedly continue its disingenuous and hurtful protests of military funerals to gain further publicity and notoriety.   In the name of religion, they will cause personal anguish for the grieving families of military personnel who ensured their right of free speech.  Perhaps these church members would be better served seeking greater understanding of their religious values and the preaching of their church than looking to disrupt their neighbors who mourn the loss of a loved one. 

 

Henderson v. Shinseki – Court ruled on time limits governing veteran claims.  Veteran Henderson appealed the 120-day statute of limitations for challenging a denial of veteran’s benefits is not jurisdictional.  The ruling overruled the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit which had affirmed the holding the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims (US CAVC) that the 120 day rule was jurisdictional and thus not subject to equitable tolling.  The Supreme Court decision will allow Henderson and other disabled veterans to submit beyond the 120-day deadline that VA had firmly enforced to deny veteran claims.

 

House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Democratic Member Bob Filner, commenting on the Supreme Court’s decision remarked, “Congress created this Article I court (US CAVC) so that VA would not be the final arbiter of both veterans’ claims and appeals-- so that veterans would get a fairer bite at the appeals apple. Today’s Supreme Court decision will go a long way in helping to restore the equity Congress envisioned by removing an unnecessary bureaucratic roadblock and allowing equitable tolling relief where warranted for our nation’s disabled veterans.  I am pleased that this case was decided the right way--in a manner that upholds equitable treatment of our nation’s veterans.  This is a great win for our veterans and their families.”

 

            Staub v. Proctor Hospital - Staub sued Proctor under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), which forbids an employer to deny “employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment” based on a person’s “membership” in or “obligation to perform service in a uniformed service,”  38 U. S. C. §4311(a), and provides that liability is established “if the person’s membership . . . is a motivating factor in the employer’s action.” He contended not that Buck was motivated by hostility to his military obligations, but that Mulally and Korenchuk were, and that their actions influenced Buck’s decision.  A jury found Proctor liable and awarded Staub damages, but the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that Proctor was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the decision maker had relied on more than Mulally and Korenchuk advice in making her decision.

Held: If a supervisor performs an act motivated by antimilitary animus that is intended by the supervisor to cause an adverse employment action, and if that act is a proximate cause of the ultimate employment action, then the employer is liable under USERRA.  Finally, there was evidence that both Mulally and Korenchuk had the specific intent to cause Staub’s termination.

 

 

Below are current legislative actions at Congress and the Senate supported by NCOA as of March 2011. 
Visit the following link to see details on each issue and current sponsors:  http://www.capwiz.com/ncoausa/issues/bills/
Also, sign up for e-mail alerts, House and Senate schedules, Capitol Hill basics and so much more.....

Current Legislation
 
Key Bills in Congress
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
S. 8 - A bill to strengthen America's national security. 10 (10 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 183 - 1/5/2011--Introduced.Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carry out, and report to Congress on, a study on the acquisition of a specified parcel of land in Beaufort, South Carolina, to be used for expansion of the Beaufort National Cemetery. 1 (1 R) We support this legislation
Military Personnel
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
S. 87 - 1/25/2011--Introduced.Authorizes and requests the President to award the Medal of Honor posthumously to Captain Emil Kapaun for acts of valor during the Korean War. 2 (2 R) We support this legislation
H.R. 309 - Samuel B. Moody Bataan Death March Compensation Act 1 (1 R) We support this legislation
Reserve/ National Guard
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
H.R. 181 - National Guardsmen and Reservists Parity for Patriots Act 19 (13 R, 6 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 179 - 1/5/2011--Introduced.Eliminates the requirement that a member or former member of the Armed Forces entitled to retired pay for non-regular (reserve) service be at least 60 years of age before being eligible for medical and dental care in a military health care facility. 2 (2 R) We support this legislation
Pay & Compensation
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
H.R. 303 - 'To amend title 10, United States Code, to permit additional retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability to receive both disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs for their disability and either retired pay by reason of their years of military service or Combat-Related Special Compensation and to eliminate the phase-in period under current law with respect to such concurrent receipt. ' 106 (62 R, 44 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 186 - 1/5/2011--Introduced.Extends through 2013 eligibility for the concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans' disability compensation for veterans who were retired or separated due to physical disability, regardless of their disability rating or years of service. 12 (9 R, 3 D) We support this legislation
Survivor Benefits
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
S. 260 - 2/2/2011--Introduced.Repeals certain provisions which require the offset of amounts paid in dependency and indemnity compensation from Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities for the surviving spouses of former military personnel who are entitled to military retired pay or would be entitled to such pay, except for being under 60 years of age. Prohibits recoupment by the Secretary of Defense (DOD) of certain amounts previously paid to SBP recipients in the form of a retired pay refund. Repeals 33 (6 R, 1 I, 26 D) We support this legislation
Tax
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
S. 146 - A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the work opportunity credit to certain recently discharged veterans. 6 (2 R, 4 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 333 - Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act 109 (24 R, 85 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 136 - 1/5/2011--Introduced.Amends the Internal Revenue Code to establish in the Treasury the Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund and to allow individual taxpayers to designate on their tax returns $3.00 of income taxes ($6.00 in the case of joint returns) to be paid over to such Fund to provide assistance to homeless veterans. 9 (2 R, 7 D) We support this legislation
Military Families
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
H.R. 178 - Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act 91 (47 R, 44 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 79 - Dependent Care Act of 2011 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
Employment
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
H.R. 169 - 1/5/2011--Introduced.Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to include on the main page of the website of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) a hyperlink with a drop-down menu titled "Veterans Employment" that includes a direct hyperlink to the VetSuccess website, USA Jobs website, Job Central website, and any other appropriate employment websites, especially those that focus on jobs for veterans. Requires the purchase of advertising in national media outlets to promote awa 1 (1 R) We support this legislation
Veterans Benefits
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
S. 277 - Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act of 2011 6 (3 R, 3 D) We support this legislation
S. 68 - 1/25/2011--Introduced.Authorizes use of Department of Defense (DOD) commissary and exchange stores by former prisoners of war who have been honorably separated from service and have a service-connected disability rated at 30% or more. 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
S. 67 - 1/25/2011--Introduced.Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD) to permit any former member of the armed forces who is entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability rated total by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to travel on military aircraft to the same extent as retired members of the Armed Forces. 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
S. 63 - A bill to require the Secretary of the Army to determine the validity of the claims of certain Filipinos that they performed military service on behalf of the United States during World War II. 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
S. 63 - 1/25/2011--Introduced.Directs the Secretary of the Army to issue a certificate of service to any Filipino national who the Secretary determines performed any military service in the Philippine Islands during World War II qualifying such person or such person's survivor to receive any military, veterans', or other benefits under U.S. laws. 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 465 - To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a pilot project on the use of educational assistance under programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs to defray training costs associated with the purchase of certain franchise enterprises. 1 (1 R) We support this legislation
H.R. 420 - To provide an amnesty period during which veterans and their family members can register certain firearms in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and for other purposes. 19 (14 R, 5 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 287 - To provide housing assistance for very low-income veterans. 30 (30 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 276 - Homestead National Monument of America Boundary Expansion Act 5 (3 R, 2 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 210 - Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011 8 (8 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 120 - Disabled Veterans' Surviving Spouses Home Loans Act 10 (8 R, 2 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 117 - Housing, Employment, and Living Programs for Veterans Act of 2011 or HELP Veterans Act of 2011 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 28 - Veterans Outreach Improvement Act of 2011 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
Health
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
H.R. 396 - TBI Treatment Act 8 (4 R, 4 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 383 - To provide for coverage of hormone replacement therapy for treatment of menopausal symptoms, and for coverage of an alternative therapy for hormone replacement therapy for such symptoms, under the Medicare and Medicaid Programs, group health plans and individual health insurance coverage, and other Federal health insurance programs. 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 329 - Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act 6 (6 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 248 - Depleted Uranium Screening and Testing Act 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 238 - Military Retiree Health Care Relief Act of 2011 9 (5 R, 4 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 198 - Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act 45 (17 R, 28 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 168 - 1/5/2011--Introduced.Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to: (1) develop treatment protocols and related tools for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); (2) improve biomedical and prosthetic research programs regarding COPD; (3) develop pilot programs to demonstrate best practices for the diagnosis and management of COPD; and (4) develop improved techniques and best practices for assisting individuals with COPD in succ 2 (1 R, 1 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 159 - TBI Treatment Act 1 (1 R) We support this legislation
H.R. 115 - CHAMPVA Children's Protection Act of 2011 2 (2 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 26 - Veterans Mental Health Screening and Assessment Act 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
Patriotism
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
S. 269 - 2/3/2011--Introduced.Designates the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Big Spring, Texas, as the "George H. O'Brien, Jr., Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center." 2 (2 R) We support this legislation
S. CON. RES. 4 - The summary description is currently not available through the Library of Congress. 14 (1 R, 1 I, 12 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 546 - Honor and Remember Flag Recognition Act 89 (54 R, 35 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 319 - To require employers to provide veterans with time off on Veterans Day. 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
H.R. 23 - Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2011 23 (4 R, 19 D) We support this legislation
H.RES. 49 - Providing Capitol-flown flags for recipients of the Medal of Honor. 5 (2 R, 3 D) We support this legislation
H. CON. RES. 12 - Expresses the sense of Congress that an appropriate site on Chaplains Hill in Arlington National Cemetery be provided for a memorial marker, to be paid for with private funds, to honor the memory of the Jewish chaplains who died while on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, so long as the Secretary of the Army has exclusive authority to approve the design and site of the memorial marker. 66 (16 R, 50 D) We support this legislation
Small Business Administration
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
H.R. 240 - 1/7/2011--Introduced.Requires (current law authorizes) a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) contracting officer to award contracts to small businesses owned and controlled by veterans using other than competitive procedures for contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold in order to meet VA small business procurement contracting goals. 1 (1 D) We support this legislation
Department of Labor
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
S. 146 - A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the work opportunity credit to certain recently discharged veterans. 6 (2 R, 4 D) We support this legislation
Budget
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
H.RES. 15 - Amends Rule XXI (Restrictions on Certain Bills) 47 (47 R) We support this legislation
HUD
Bill Name  Number of Sponsors  Position
H.R. 284 - To authorize funds to prevent housing discrimination through the use of nationwide testing, to increase funds for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, and for other purposes. 22 (22 D) We support this legislation