|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Representatives Jerman of Essex, Clarkson of Woodstock, Deen of Westminster, Donovan of Burlington, Frank of Underhill, French of Randolph, Haas of Rochester, Jewett of Ripton, Johnson of South Hero, Krawczyk of Bennington, Malcolm of Pawlet, Mook of Bennington, Potter of Clarendon, Stevens of Shoreham and Trombley of Grand Isle
Subject: Veterans; health; exposure to depleted uranium; testing; task force; report
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to help Vermont veterans who have been exposed to depleted uranium or other hazardous materials during military service to access federal health services. The bill also requires the adjutant general to issue a report on the adequacy of training and the advisability of providing pre-deployment training to military personnel regarding exposure to depleted uranium.
AN ACT RELATING TO PROVIDING MEDICAL SERVICES TO MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY EXPOSED TO HAZARDOUS MATERIALS DURING MILITARY SERVICE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
The general assembly finds:
(1) Depleted uranium is a chemically toxic, radioactive heavy metal that is created as waste during nuclear fuel and weapons production.
(2) Depleted uranium, which has a radioactive half-life of four and one‑half billion years, emits radioactive particles that may cause kidney and lung damage, may cause cancer when inhaled or ingested, and may cause genetic mutations that are carried to future generations.
(3) Depleted uranium munitions and armor have been used extensively by the U.S. Armed Forces since the 1991 Gulf War. Veterans living in Vermont who served in combat theaters in and since the first Gulf War may have been exposed to depleted uranium in unknown doses with unknown consequences to their health.
(4) It is important to safeguard the health of Vermont’s veterans who have likely been exposed to depleted uranium by assisting them to obtain federal treatment services, including best‑practice health screening tests capable of detecting depleted uranium in humans.
Sec. 2. 20 V.S.A. § 1606 is added to read:
§ 1606. VETERANS EXPOSED TO DEPLETED URANIUM
(a) For the purposes of this section:
(1) “Depleted uranium” means uranium containing an amount of Uranium-235 that is less than the naturally occurring distribution of uranium isotopes.
(2) “Eligible member” means a member of the military, including the Vermont National Guard, who served in the Persian Gulf War, as defined in 38 U.S.C. § 101, or in an area designated as a combat zone by the President of the United States during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is a resident of this state.
(3) “Military physician” means a physician who is under contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide health services to members of the armed forces.
(4) “Veteran” means a member of the armed services who served at least a two-year tour of active duty, unless discharged earlier for the convenience of the government, and received an honorable discharge or is currently a member of the military or on active military duty and in good standing.
(b) The adjutant general and the director of veterans’ affairs shall assist any eligible member or veteran to obtain any federal treatment services, including best‑practice health screening for exposure to depleted uranium, directly or indirectly related to exposure to depleted uranium, provided the eligible member or veteran:
(1) Has been assigned a risk level I, II, or III for depleted uranium exposure by the member’s branch of military service; or
(2) Is referred by a military physician; or
(3) Has reason to believe that he or she was exposed to depleted uranium during military service.
Sec. 3. VERMONT ADJUTANT GENERAL; REPORT
On or before January 1, 2008, the adjutant general shall submit a report to the senate committee on government operations and the house committee on general, housing and military affairs. The report shall include:
(1) An evaluation of the scope and adequacy of training received by members of the Vermont National Guard regarding detection of past or future exposure to depleted uranium in the line of service.
(2) An assessment of the feasibility and cost of adding pre‑deployment training regarding the potential exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic chemical substances and the precautions recommended under combat and noncombat conditions while in combat zones.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street