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Bill Number: 2148 Ratification Number: 622 Act Number 545 Introducing Body: House Subject: To provide for a Prisoner of War Commission
(A545, R622, H2148)
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR A PRISONER OF WAR COMMISSION ATTACHED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS FOR LOGISTICS AND STAFF ONLY AND PROVIDE FOR ITS FUNCTIONS AND DUTIES.
Whereas, in recognition of extreme hardship and sacrifice experienced by former prisoners of war in the service of the United States of America; and
Whereas, many former prisoners of war are citizens of the State of South Carolina; and
Whereas, the State of South Carolina is forever indebted to these individuals who ignored danger, endured extreme physical and mental punishment, and kept the spirit of this Nation alive in their hearts and in the hearts of their fellow Americans. Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Prisoner of War Commission; members; terms, vacancies
SECTION 1. There is established a Prisoner of War Commission in South Carolina composed of one member from each congressional district and one member from the State at large, to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of a majority of the members of the Senate representing the congressional district involved and a majority of the members of the House of Representatives representing the congressional district involved. A chairman must be elected annually by the commission from its membership. All members must be former prisoners of war. The South Carolina Department of the American Ex-Prisoners of War may submit to the Governor names and biographical data on former prisoners of war willing and able to serve. Their terms are for four years and until their successors are appointed and qualify, except that the initial members from the first, third, and fifth congressional districts shall serve for terms of two years. Vacancies must be filled by the Governor for the remainder of an unexpired term.
SECTION 2. The commission is attached to the Department of Veterans' Affairs for logistical and staff support only and may be located in Columbia in space provided by the State Budget and Control Board.
SECTION 3. The commission shall meet at least three times yearly at a time and a place and on a date designated by the chairman and at other times at the call of the chairman or upon the request of a majority of the members.
SECTION 4. The functions of the commission include the following:
(1) develop and maintain an up-to-date listing of all former prisoners of war residing in South Carolina;
(2) coordinate all South Carolina related former prisoner of war functions;
(3) review, discuss, and make recommendations concerning the adequacy, policies, and practices of medical services care and treatment at the Veterans Administration facilities in South Carolina;
(4) review, discuss, and make recommendations concerning the policies and practices in regard to disability compensation for former prisoners of war under laws administered by the Veterans Administration;
(5) coordinate the deficiencies and recommendations for improvement of items (3) and (4) with officials of the designated Veterans Administration facilities;
(6) plan and implement studies, surveys, publications, and use of media that inform former prisoners of war of their rights and forms of compensation, both under federal and state laws and regulations;
(7) develop and maintain close liaison in all foregoing functions with the South Carolina Department and chapters of the American Ex-Prisoners of War and all other veteran organizations.
SECTION 5. The commission annually shall submit a written report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of the South Carolina Congressional Delegation in Washington, D. C., detailing its policies and goals established pursuant to this act, its efforts and actions in carrying out its functions, and their results. It shall make special reports it considers desirable. The commission may make suggestions it considers advisable concerning legislative, executive, or administrative actions which would serve to improve benefits and services available to former prisoners of war and their families.
SECTION 6. The members of the commission shall receive the mileage, per diem, and subsistence provided by law for members of state boards, committees, and commissions for each meeting attended. The commission shall receive funding as may be provided by the General Assembly in the annual general appropriations act necessary for carrying out the commission's functions.
SECTION 7. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.