2010 Wyoming Statutes
Title 19 - Defense Forces And Affairs
Chapter 14 - Veterans

CHAPTER 14 - VETERANS

 

19-14-101. Burial of indigents.

 

(a) The board of county commissioners of each county shall provide for the preparation of the body and transmittal to and burial in the veteran's cemetery of any other than a dishonorably discharged veteran of the armed forces of the United States who served on behalf of the United States in any war or conflict as defined in section 101, title 38, United States Code and who dies leaving insufficient funds to defray the necessary funeral expenses. The amount expended for transporting the body shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00).

 

(b) Before assuming charge and expense for preparation and transmittal of the body and burial, each board of county commissioners shall first determine according to procedures they establish that the deceased veteran of the armed forces of the United States whose body they are called upon to bury served in the armed forces of the United States during World War II or any preceding war in which the United States was a party or during the Korean or Vietnam conflicts, was other than dishonorably discharged and died in the county leaving insufficient means to defray the necessary funeral expenses.

 

(c) The county commissioners of each county, shall:

 

(i) Keep a complete record of all the facts relating to any veteran of the armed forces of the United States who is buried in accordance with this section; and

 

(ii) Draw a warrant on the treasurer of their county for the payment of the expenses out of the general funds of the county.

 

19-14-102. Employment; preference in public departments or public works; qualifications and residence.

 

 

(a) In every public department and upon all public works in Wyoming, members of the United States military establishment in any war or conflict as defined in section 101, title 38, United States Code, honorably discharged from service, and the widows of members during widowhood, shall be preferred for appointment or employment. Age or other physical impairment which does not in fact materially incapacitate shall not disqualify them from receiving preference if they possess the business capacity, competency, education or other qualifications for discharge of the duties required. If the disabilities do not materially interfere with performance of the duties, the disabled veterans or widows shall be given preference over employment of able-bodied veterans and widows. A veteran or widow who has not been a resident of the state of Wyoming for a period of one (1) year or more immediately preceding date for appointment or employment is not entitled to preference under this section and for municipal or county employment, no preference shall be granted unless the applicant under this section is a resident of the municipality or county in which employment is sought.

 

(b) Each official or person having power of appointment in the public service is charged with the faithful compliance with the duties herein prescribed.

 

(c) Whenever a veteran of any war or conflict as defined in section 101, title 38, United States Code, takes any examination under the merit system of Wyoming, the veteran shall be allowed a five (5) point advantage over any nonveteran competitor for the same position or proposed employment, and if the veteran has a service connected disability of ten percent (10%) or more the advantage given shall be ten (10) points. This section applies only to bona fide residents of Wyoming at the time of their entry into the armed service of the United States and who are at the time of taking the examination bona fide residents of Wyoming.

 

19-14-103. Honorably discharged considered to be sui juris as to G.I. bill of rights.

 

Each person eighteen (18) years of age who receives an honorable discharge from the armed service of the United States after having served at least three (3) months in the armed services, shall be considered as having attained the age of majority in connection with all property and contractual rights and liabilities upon his obtaining the discharge. This section is applicable only to provisions of Public Law 346, statutes-at-large Seventy-Eighth Congress, 1944, second session.

 

19-14-104. Recordation of discharges.

 

(a) Each Wyoming county clerk shall record in his office without charge of any fee a certificate of discharge or other separation from service documents from any person who has served in the United States armed forces at any time, and who has been honorably discharged or relieved from active service.

 

(b) All documents filed under this section on and after July 1, 2003, shall be kept confidential and shall be available only to the discharged person, that person's authorized agent, that person's dependents, the veterans' service officer, the Wyoming veteran's commission, a peace officer or by court order.

 

(c) Any person who has recorded a certificate of discharge or other separation from service documents prior to July 1, 2003 may request that all filed documents which have not been commingled be transferred or rerecorded without charge of any fee and kept as a confidential file pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

 

(d) A county clerk shall, to the greatest extent practical, take appropriate protective actions in accordance with any limitations determined necessary by him with regard to records that were filed with or placed in storage by a county clerk prior to July 1, 2003.

 

(e) Ten (10) years after the death of the veteran, or, if the date of death of the veteran is unknown, one hundred (100) years from the time of discharge or release from active service, the county clerk may transfer the documents filed under this section to a public archive.

 

19-14-105. Use of pensions for support in state institutions prohibited; exception; penalty.

 

No state institution shall take any part of the pension of any war veteran for his support or maintenance except, in the case of a veteran who is or who may be confined in any charitable institution of Wyoming. The pension of the veteran in excess of four hundred twenty dollars ($420.00) per month may be used for support and maintenance if the veteran has no dependents. Any officer of a state institution or other person violating the provisions of this section upon conviction shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00) for each offense.

 

19-14-106. Free tuition and fees for education of war orphans and veterans; definitions.

 

(a) As used in this section:

 

(i) "Eligible person" includes the surviving spouse and dependent of any person who was a resident of Wyoming at the time of entering into active state service or active service with the military forces of the United States; and

 

(A) Whose death was service connected, as defined in 81 Stat. 181, 38 U.S.C. 101, or is listed officially in the military records of the United States as being a prisoner of war or missing in action as a result of active state service or active service with the military forces of the United States; or

 

(B) Who was honorably discharged from the military forces of the United States and thereafter died of an injury or disease incurred while in active state service or active service with such military forces, being a resident at the time of death.

 

(ii) "Vietnam veteran" means any person who:

 

(A) Was in active service with the military forces of the United States and received a Vietnam service medal between August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975; and

 

(B) Received a discharge from the military forces of the United States other than dishonorably; and

 

(C) Has been a resident of Wyoming for not less than one (1) year.

 

(iii) "Academic year" means the twelve (12) month period beginning with the commencement of the fall semester for the University of Wyoming and with the commencement of the summer semester for community colleges;

 

(iv) "Combat veteran surviving spouse or dependent" means a person who is a surviving spouse or dependent of any overseas combat veteran or Vietnam veteran when the overseas combat veteran or Vietnam veteran was a resident of Wyoming for at least one (1) year prior to entering active service and the overseas combat veteran or Vietnam veteran died during active service. For purposes of this paragraph, a child is a combat dependent only if he was under twenty-two (22) years of age at the time his parent or legal guardian died in overseas combat during active service;

 

(v) "Overseas combat veteran" means a person other than a Vietnam veteran who was a resident of Wyoming for at least one (1) year prior to entering into active service, who is an honorably discharged veteran who served in the military service of the United States and who was awarded the armed forces expeditionary medal or other authorized service or campaign medal indicating service to the United States in any armed conflict in a foreign country.

 

(b) The state or any political educational subdivision shall provide free tuition, matriculation and other fees to all eligible persons who are residents of this state and who are attending or may attend any state institutions in elementary, secondary and college grades, business colleges, state vocational training schools or other educational institutions of this state where courses of instruction are provided in subjects which would tend to enable the eligible persons to engage in any useful trade, occupation or profession.

 

(c) Repealed By Laws 2007, Ch. 91, 3.

 

(d) The community college commission shall reimburse the University of Wyoming and each community college for the costs of tuition and fees provided under this section. If insufficient funds are appropriated, the reimbursement shall be proportionally reduced based on tuition and fee expenses. The commission shall promulgate rules for the implementation of the free tuition and fees pursuant to subsections (f) through (k) of this section, including the reimbursement to the university and community colleges.

 

(e) The community college commission shall submit to the joint appropriations and the joint education interim committees by October 1, 2006, a report identifying the actions taken and monies expended pursuant to this act and shall submit the report annually thereafter on October 1.

 

(f) Any person who is a Vietnam veteran, not presently receiving education benefits under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, as amended, an overseas combat veteran, a combat veteran surviving spouse or a combat veteran dependent shall receive free tuition and fees for up to a total of ten (10) semesters of study at the University of Wyoming or any Wyoming community college. The University of Wyoming and all Wyoming community colleges shall cooperate to ensure that a total of not more than ten (10) semesters is provided under this section to any recipient. No person shall be eligible for the benefits provided under this section for any semester commencing more than eight (8) academic years after the semester in which the person initially receives benefits under this section. The institution in which the student enrolls shall grant exceptions to the requirements of this subsection for military service, religious service or other good cause shown, which exceptions shall be consistent with rules promulgated by the Wyoming department of education for the Hathaway scholarship program under W.S. 21-16-1303(d).

 

(g) In order to qualify for the benefit under this section, a person claiming eligibility as:

 

(i) An overseas combat veteran for free tuition and fees under this section shall enroll at the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming community college not later than ten (10) years following completion of military service;

 

(ii) A combat veteran surviving spouse shall enroll at the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming community college not later than ten (10) years following the death of the combat veteran;

 

(iii) A combat veteran dependent shall be under twenty-two (22) years of age at the time of enrollment at the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming community college.

 

(h) The institution in which the student enrolls shall grant exceptions to the requirements of this subsection for military service, religious service or other good cause shown, which exceptions shall be consistent with rules promulgated by the Wyoming department of education for the Hathaway scholarship program under W.S. 21-16-1303(b)(iii)(B). There is no limitation as to when a Vietnam veteran not presently receiving education benefits under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, as amended, may enroll and begin receiving benefits under this section.

 

(j) A person who had qualified for free tuition and fees under subsection (f) or (g) of this section, shall be deemed eligible for the free tuition and fees at any Wyoming community college or the University of Wyoming up to the maximum number of semesters of study allowed under subsection (a) of this section, if the person transfers to another institution specified in subsection (a) of this section.

 

(k) To remain eligible for benefits under this section, by the end of the spring semester completing the student's third or fourth semester of attendance, the student shall have a cumulative grade point average of at least two point zero (2.0) and shall maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least two point zero (2.0) at the end of each subsequent spring semester to continue to receive the free tuition and fees.

 

19-14-107. Creation of veterans' commission; composition; terms.

 

(a) A Wyoming veterans' commission is created within the military department consisting of twelve (12) members, not less than one (1) of whom shall reside in each judicial district identified in W.S. 5-3-101, appointed by the governor for staggered terms of three (3) years. Commencing with initial appointments made in 2005, four (4) members of the board shall be appointed for a term of one (1) year, four (4) members for a term of two (2) years and four (4) members for a term of three (3) years. Terms thereafter shall be three (3) years and staggered with one-third (1/3) of the members' terms expiring each year. Appointments shall be made without regard to political affiliation, sex, religion or ethnic background. The governor may remove any member as provided in W.S. 9-1-202. A chairman shall be elected by the commission from among its members and a new chairman elected every two (2) years thereafter.

 

(b) The commission shall meet at least once a year and at the call of the governor. Members shall be reimbursed according to W.S. 9-3-102 and 9-3-103 for per diem and travel expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

 

(c) The commission shall:

 

(i) Study all federal and state legislation affecting veterans, their spouses, dependents and beneficiaries;

 

(ii) Establish liaison with agencies dealing with veteran's affairs;

 

(iii) Make recommendations to the legislature and to the governor concerning veterans; and

 

(iv) Adopt policies and procedures necessary to administer the veteran burial team account pursuant to W.S. 19-14-109.

 

19-14-108. Veterans' cemetery; acquisition and maintenance; eligibility for burial.

 

(a) Military department, with the approval of the veterans' commission, may acquire a site in this state to be used to establish a cemetery for the interment of veterans of the United States armed forces and for qualified family members of eligible veterans. The approval of the local governing body of the county in which the proposed site is located shall be obtained prior to any acquisition of land for this purpose. The department, with the approval of the commission, is empowered to receive any lands granted to the state or any of its political subdivisions. All military cemeteries currently owned by the state of Wyoming shall be operated and controlled by the military department.

 

(b) The military department shall supervise and control a veterans' cemetery established under this section. All personnel, equipment and support necessary for maintenance and operation of the cemetery shall be included in the budget of the military department. All employees shall be under the state personnel system.

 

(c) Any veteran who received any discharge, other than a dishonorable discharge, from the armed forces of the United States is eligible for burial in the state veterans' cemetery and any indigent veteran shall be buried in the cemetery without charge except such funds as may be available from the veteran's administration and the social security burial allowance, if any, shall be paid to the cemetery director. Such funds collected shall be applied to the cemetery for capital improvements and shall not be paid to the general fund of the state.

 

(d) Any eligible veteran, qualified family member, or the survivors of an eligible veteran or qualified family member, or a county under W.S. 19-14-101, in the veteran's behalf, may apply for a burial plot in the state veterans' cemetery by submitting a request to the cemetery director on forms supplied by the military department and available from the cemetery director. The department, in consultation with the commission, shall allot available burial plots on a first come, first served basis. There shall be no charge made for any burial plot. There shall be no charge for the interment of any eligible veteran. The director of the Oregon Trail veteran's cemetery shall apply to the veterans administration for payment of any allowable plot or interment allowance.

 

(e) A spouse or a handicapped or minor child of a veteran who qualifies for burial as provided in subsection (c) of this section may also qualify for burial in the state veterans' cemetery, if the interment of the qualified family member is in the same burial plot as that provided for the veteran and the interment is either above or below the veteran. The department, in consultation with the commission, shall establish a fee schedule which may be adjusted from time to time for burial of family members. The fees shall cover as nearly as practicable the actual costs of interments. The department, in consultation with the commission, may accept the social security burial allowance, if any, of the qualified family member in an amount not to exceed the actual cost of the interment.

 

19-14-109. Veteran burial teams.

 

(a) The veteran burial team account is created. Subject to policies and procedures adopted by the veterans' commission, Wyoming veteran burial teams who have contracted with the commission may apply for payment for the performance of military funeral duties not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00) per funeral. The commission shall also maintain a list of registered veteran burial teams and provide that list upon request.

 

(b) Any claim made pursuant to this section shall be made to the veterans' commission. The commission shall review and act upon all claims submitted under subsection (a) of this section no later than June 30 following the calendar year in which expenses were incurred for the claim submitted. If after deducting and paying the commission's administrative expenses in processing claims there are insufficient funds within the veteran burial team account to pay all approved claims, the commission shall prorate reimbursement among all approved claims. Payments authorized through the commission pursuant to this section shall be paid by the state treasurer by warrant issued by the state auditor upon vouchers signed by the state veterans' service officer or his designee.

 

(c) As used in this section, "veteran burial team" means any group of veterans that the commission has contracted with, pursuant to policies and procedures, to perform military services within the state of Wyoming authorized by the commission during the burial of any decedent who has received any military discharge, other than a dishonorable discharge, from the armed forces of the United States.

 

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