2020-21 National Legislative Priorities
Ohio AMVETS prides itself on actively advocating on behalf of veterans and their dependents before the Ohio Legislature, Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs, and state and local agencies, as well as supporting Ohio’s National Guard. We also actively monitors aspects of the state budget process, which affect such issues as veterans homes, National Guard, County Veterans Service Officers, and veterans outreach programs.
We urge all members to become actively involved by participating in veteran blogs, writing letters to your local and state government officials, reading American Veteran to stay on top of current issues affecting veterans, and taking advantage of all of the resources available on the legislative page. AMVETS provides all veterans with a voice and will continue to fight in Congress and the government for each and every AMVETS member.
Click here for a complete list of all legislation National AMVETS are watching: Legislation We Are Monitoring
Mental Health & Suicide Prevention
It is our goal to focus on legislation that will help our Veterans in need. On average, 20 veterans commit suicide every single day. This is not acceptable. We are a team, both in the field and once we come home. Here are our goals for laws around the mental well being of veterans and suicide prevention:
Reduce the stigma
Increase access to care
Improve identification and treatment
Increase knowledge of mild-to-moderate TBIs & behavioral after-effects
Advocate for veterans with bad paper mental health issues, including TBIs
Increase acceptance and use of Veteran Treatment Courts
VA for Women Veterans
AMVETS led the way in defending women veterans in the 116th Congress. VA, Congress, and all advocates need to work together to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face. We will work to increase the number of gender-specific providers in VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment of care for women veterans. We will do everything in our power to ensure women veterans feel at home and welcome at their VAs.
COVID 19 Stimulus, Climate Change Programs,
and Veteran Unemployment
VA facilities are facing record shortfalls in major and minor construction funding. The bottom-line is many VA facilities are energy inefficient dilapidated old buildings. AMVETS will fight to ensure that funding for any COVID 19 infrastructure stimulus plans, as well as any efforts to increase funding to make our nation more environmentally sustainable, include the many VA facilities across the nation. Additionally, veterans are two times more likely to be unemployed then they were one year ago. As such, AMVETS will be fighting to ensure that veteran specific employment components are included for any large scale government COVID or environmentally focused stimulus plans.
AMVETS strongly urges Congress to provide prioritization of vaccines to the many high risk veterans across the Nation. VA is amply positioned to distribute the vaccine and as their 4th mission can help address the many challenges facing distribution of the vaccine. However, it is unacceptable that so many high risk veterans have still yet to receive a vaccination while many low-risk Americans across the Nation are gaining access to the various vaccines.
501(c)(19) Tax Code
The Internal Revenue Code non-profit designation specifically for veterans’ organizations is 501(c)(19). The key benefits are tax-exemption and the ability to accept tax-deductible donations. The current regulation requires 501(c)(19) organizations to maintain a membership of at least 90% wartime veterans to accept tax-deductible donations. AMVETS is the only one of the “Big 6” Congressionally-chartered veterans service organizations open to all non-wartime veterans. About 38% of AMVETS members are not wartime veterans, leaving the 70-year-old organization unable to accept tax-deductible donations.
AMVETS Ohio Legislative Committee
Writing to Congress:
Know to whom your letter should be sent.
Send your letter to your local representatives (your house representative and your two senators). You may think it worthwhile to really let your voice be heard by sending a letter to every member of Congress, but they will likely forward the letter on to your local officials (who in turn may get quite annoyed at receiving dozens of copies of the same letter from the same person).
When addressing your letter, use the following format:
For Your Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room Number) (Name) Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator (last name):
For Your House Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room Number) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative (last name):
Proofread your letter.
Before you sign and seal your letter, make sure to proofread it first. Ensure that you have not left out any important, pertinent information. If you’ve repeated yourself or if something isn’t as clear as it could be, revise. After making any necessary changes, read over your letter one more time to check for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and other errors.
Know that your vote counts.
Congressional leaders exist to serve you, a representative of the American people. Most of them truly want to represent faithfully the concerns of those they serve. And they understand that without your vote, and that of others like you, they will not remain in office. Moreover, because representatives receive relatively few personal letters, your letter may hold more sway than you think. So write with confidence!