Reported from the Committee on Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws, April 12, 2006, with recommendation that the Senate Committee Substitute do pass and be placed on the Consent Calendar.


TERRY L. SPIELER, Secretary.




To amend chapter 620, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to the guard at home program, with an emergency clause.


Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:

            Section A.  Chapter 620, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 620.515, to read as follows:

            620.515.  1.  This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Guard at Home" program whose purpose is to:

            (1)  Assist the spouse of an active duty national guard or reserve component service member reservist to address immediate needs and employment in an attempt to keep the family from falling into poverty while the primary income earner is on active duty; and

            (2)  Assist returning national guard troops with finding work in situations where an individual needs to rebuild business clientele or where an individual's job has been eliminated while such individual was deployed.

            2.  Subject to appropriation, the department of economic development shall enter into a contract with qualified providers through local workforce investment boards to provide the guard at home program.  The department shall develop the criteria of the contract based on the following criteria:

            (1)  Eligible participants in the program shall be those families where:

            (a)  The primary income earner was called to active duty in defense of the United States for a period of more than four months;

            (b)  The family's primary income is no longer available;

            (c)  The family is experiencing significant hardship due to financial burdens; and

            (d)  The family has no outside resources available to assist with such hardships;

            (2)  Services that may be provided to the family will be aimed at ameliorating the immediate crisis and providing a path for economic stability while the primary income is not available due to the active military commitment.  Services may include, but not be limited to the following:

            (a)  Financial assistance to families facing financial crisis from overdue bills due to reduced income after the deployment of a spouse;

            (b)  Help paying daycare costs to pursue training and or employment;

            (c)  Help covering the costs of transportation to training and or employment;

            (d)  Vocational evaluation and vocational counseling to help the individual choose a visible employment goal;

            (e)  Vocational training to acquire or upgrade skills needed to be marketable in the workforce;

            (f)  Paid internships and subsidized employment to train on the job; and

            (g)  Job placement assistance for those who don't require skills training;

            (3)  The department shall ensure the eligible providers are:

            (a)  Community-based not-for-profit agencies which have significant experience in job training, placement, and social services;

            (b)  Providers with extensive experience providing such services to veterans and implementing contracts with veteran organizations such as the department of veteran affairs;

            (c)  Providers which have attained the distinction of being accredited through a national accreditation body for training and or human services;

            (d)  Providers which are able to provide a twenty percent match to the program either through indirect or direct expenditures; and

            (e)  Providers with experience in the regions targeted for the program.

            3.  The department shall structure the contract such that payment will be based on delivering the services described in this section as well as performance to guarantee the greatest possible effectiveness of the program.

            4.  Because of the important nature of this program to the health and welfare of Missourians, this section shall become effective on July 1, 2006.  The department shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that the guard at home program is serving families by August 1, 2006.

            5.  The department shall prepare a report on the operations and progress of the program to be delivered to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president pro tem of the senate no later than January 1, 2007.

            Section B.  Because immediate action is necessary to protect the health and welfare of Missouri national guard troops and reservists, section A of this act is deemed necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, peace, and safety, and is hereby declared to be an emergency act within the meaning of the constitution, and section A of this act shall be in full force and effect on July 1, 2006, or upon its passage and approval.