Rep. Vella-Wilkinson introduces legislation to create a nine-member Veterans Oversight Commission


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would create a nine-member permanent joint military and veterans’ affairs oversight commission.

The bill (2020-H 7175) would establish the commission for the purpose of overseeing operations of Rhode Island Office of Veterans’ Affairs and fiscal oversight of military affairs and defense.

“The issues facing veterans are many,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson, a retired naval officer. “Homelessness, medical issues, poverty and unemployment continue to plague those who served their country gallantly and honorably. We have a duty and obligation to ensure that veterans receive proper medical care, prompt and courteous service at the Veterans Home and that veterans have an opportunity to thrive in Rhode Island. This commission, which would include veterans among its membership, would go a long way toward doing just that.”

The panel would include four members from the House of Representatives, three from the Senate and two veterans to be appointed by the governor. The commission would oversee all operations of the Rhode Island Office of Veterans’ Affairs, exercise fiscal oversight of the air and army national guard, and oversee matters related to veteran services to include operation of  the veterans’ cemetery and Rhode Island veterans’ home.

The panel would coordinate and consult with the United States Veterans Administration.