SACRAMENTO — Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) has been named 2013 California Legislator of the Year by AMVETS, a national organization established to enhance and safeguard the entitlements for all American veterans who have served honorably and to improve the quality of life for them, their families, and the communities where they live.
Muratsuchi said in a statement on Oct. 23, “To be named a recipient … is a great honor and I am very grateful.
“Within a year my colleagues and I have had many accomplishments in addressing our veterans’ needs. I was fortunate to learn about and address some of the issues our veterans are facing, such as homelessness and a backlog of benefits claims.
“As chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, I will continue to fight for those who have fought for us because they deserve our help. I look forward to many more years of successful efforts.”
In San Diego on Oct. 10, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 639 by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), which will repurpose funds to provide more affordable housing for homeless veterans and their families. Muratsuchi was principal co-author of this bill.
“I cannot accept the fact that California leads the nation in the number of homeless veterans,” stated Muratsuchi. “Our veterans have risked their lives and fought for our freedom, and it is only right that we now fight to protect them. Once approved by the voters, this will get the resources moving to help our veterans and their families.”
Currently, there is $900 million in general obligation (GO) bond authority to help veterans purchase farms or homes through the CalVet Farm and Home Loan Program. This GO bond authority was approved by voters through Proposition 12 in order to provide funds for the purchase of single family homes and farms; however, virtually none of the monies have been spent for these purposes. Counting previous unused bond authority, the CalVet Program has more than $1 billion in unused funds.
This law will repurpose $600 million of the unused bond authority for the CalVet Home Loan Program and authorizes issuance of bonds for the construction, rehabilitation and preservation of affordable multifamily housing and services for veterans and their families.
This law provides Californians the opportunity to vote on the June 2014 ballot to redirect the funds.