HOUSE BILL NO. 4253
February 16, 2021, Introduced by Reps. O'Neal, Steenland, Brenda Carter, Liberati, Coleman, Hood, Tyrone Carter, Stone, Steckloff, Thanedar, Beson, Aiyash and Jones and referred to the Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security.
A bill to create a grant program to provide reimbursement of certain fitness facility membership fees, in whole or in part, to certain veterans; to create the Michigan veteran outreach fund and to provide for contributions to and expenditures from that fund; to prescribe the powers and duties of certain state and local governmental officers and entities; to require the promulgation of rules; and to repeal acts and parts of acts.
the people of the state of michigan enact:
(a) "County department" means a county department of veterans affairs.
(b) "Department" means the department of military and veterans affairs.
(c) "Eligible veteran" means a veteran who meets both of the following conditions:
(i) The veteran has a United States Department of Veterans Affairs service-connected disability rating of 50% or greater and is a resident of this state.
(ii) If the veteran was a participant in a reimbursement program under this act at any time during the 6-month period immediately preceding his or her request for a subsequent reimbursement benefit, he or she attended a qualified fitness facility participating in that reimbursement program not less than 8 times during the last month of his or her participation in the program.
(d) "Membership fee reimbursement" or "reimbursement" means a reimbursement of a qualified fitness facility membership fee, in whole or in part, that is provided to a qualified fitness facility for the benefit of an eligible veteran.
(e) "Membership fee reimbursement program" or "reimbursement program" means a program that provides for membership fee reimbursements for the benefit of eligible veterans at qualified fitness facilities.
(f) "Michigan veteran outreach fund" or "fund" means the Michigan veteran outreach fund created in section 2.
(g) "Michigan veteran outreach initiative" or "grant program" means the grant program created in section 3.
(h) "Qualified fitness facility" means a YMCA fitness facility or other private nonprofit fitness facility located in this state that meets the following conditions:
(i) The facility offers a reduced membership fee for veterans.
(ii) The facility is capable of tracking the attendance of veterans participating in a reimbursement program established under this act.
(iii) The facility is in compliance with the Americans with disabilities act of 1990, Public Law 101-336.
(i) "Service-connected disability" means a disability determined to be service-connected by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
(j) "Veteran" means that term as defined in section 1 of 1965 PA 190, MCL 35.61.
(k) "YMCA" means the Young Men's Christian Association.
(2) The state treasurer may receive money or other assets from any source for deposit into the fund. The state treasurer shall credit to the fund money appropriated to the fund. The state treasurer shall direct the investment of the fund and shall credit to the fund interest and earnings from fund investments.
(3) The department shall expend money from the fund to carry out the purpose of this act and shall not expend money from the fund for any other purpose.
(4) Money remaining in the fund at the close of the fiscal year remains in the fund and does not lapse to the general fund. Money remaining in the fund 3 years after the effective date of this act lapses to the general fund.
Sec. 3. (1) The department shall create and operate a grant program to be known as the Michigan veteran outreach initiative. Beginning on the effective date of this act and ending 3 years after that date, the department shall provide grants, upon appropriation, from the Michigan veteran outreach fund. Subject to subsections (4) and (5), the department shall provide the grants on a competitive basis to eligible counties, as described in subsection (2), for the establishment, operation, and funding of membership fee reimbursement programs.
(2) To be eligible for a grant under this section, a county must meet either of the following conditions:
(a) The county has established and currently operates a county department of veterans' affairs or has an agreement with a neighboring county to use the neighboring county's county department of veterans' affairs.
(b) The county has a Michigan veterans' trust fund agent who performs his or her duties from a county building.
(3) The department shall develop and implement an application process for the grant program described in subsection (1) that requires, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(a) Demonstration by the applicant county, through letters or otherwise, of the availability of qualified fitness facilities in the county that have expressed a willingness to participate in a reimbursement program established under this act.
(b) Statements of support from local officials or agencies in the county attesting to the need for assistance in providing access for eligible veterans to facilities within their community that offer opportunities for improving th