Summary: H.R.3949 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/03/2009)

Veterans' Small Business Assistance and Servicemembers Protection Act of 2009 - Title I: Small Business and Education Matters - Veterans Small Business Verification Act - (Sec. 101) Prohibits the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from including a small business in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)-maintained database of small businesses owned and controlled by veterans until the Secretary has verified that: (1) the small business is owned and controlled by veterans; and (2) if the small business owner claims to be a service-disabled veteran, that such person is a veteran with a service-connected disability. Authorizes the Secretary, upon a person's application for inclusion in the database, to access the person's personal information to verify information contained in the application. Requires such application and verification procedures to be followed with respect to small businesses currently included in the database but not yet verified.

(Sec. 102) Extends through 2015 the Veterans' Advisory Committee on Education.

Title II: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Matters - (Sec. 201) Amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to allow a servicemember to terminate a contract for the following services, without the imposition of early termination fees, at any time after receiving military orders to deploy for not less than 90 days in support of a contingency operation or to change permanent stations to a location that does not support such contract: (1) cellular and home telephone; (2) multichannel video programming; (3) Internet; or (4) residential utilities involving the provision of water, electricity, home heating oil, or natural gas. Requires: (1) contract termination to be made by written notice and a copy of the military orders; and (2) the return of any advance payments made.

(Sec. 202) Prohibits lessors from charging early termination fees with respect to residential, business, agricultural, or motor vehicle leases entered into by servicemembers who subsequently enter military service or receive orders for a permanent change of station or for deployment in support of a contingency operation.

(Sec. 203) Provides for enforcement by the Attorney General with respect to rights provided under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Limits civil penalties to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for subsequent violations. Allows aggrieved persons to intervene in a civil action that has already commenced.

Provides a private right of action for such enforcement, allowing any appropriate relief, including monetary damages.

Provides that any actions so brought shall not preclude or limit any other available remedies under federal or state law.

Title III: Other Benefits Matters - (Sec. 301) Directs the Secretary to establish and maintain procedures for ensuring coordination of outreach activities between and among the following: (1) the Office of the Secretary; (2) the Office of Public Affairs; (3) the Veterans Health Administration; (4) the Veterans Benefits Administration; and (5) the National Cemetery Administration. Directs the Secretary to annually review and, as necessary, modify such procedures. Authorizes the Secretary to provide grant assistance to state or county veterans agencies that offer a high probability of improving outreach and assistance to veterans and their spouses, children, and parents. Directs the Secretary: (1) to annually review the performance of each grant recipient to determine if they meet annual outcome measures developed by the Secretary; and (2) in awarding such grants, to give a priority to states and agencies that serve the largest population of veterans. Requires a separate budget accounting for such outreach activities. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 302) Directs the Secretary to establish and carry out a scholarship program to individuals enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate in visual impairment or orientation and mobility in order to increase the supply of qualified blind rehabilitation specialists. Limits scholarship amounts to $15,000 per academic year and $45,000 total per student, over a duration of six years. Requires students receiving such assistance to agree to serve as a full-time VA employee for at least three years.

(Sec. 303) Corey Shea Act - Authorizes the Secretary to provide VA burial benefits to parents of individuals who died in combat or from a combat-related training injury, are interred in a national cemetery, and have no other eligible survivors. Allows the Secretary to provide such benefit only if there is available gravesite space.