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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 3627

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 05/19/2016 08:29am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A resolution
memorializing Congress to pass the National Guard 12304b Benefits Parity Act.

WHEREAS, the National Defense Authorization Act (2012) expanded the authority of the
Department of Defense, enabling it to deploy National Guard and Reserve component forces to
augment the active forces for a preplanned mission in support of a combatant command. This
authority is codified under United States Code, title 10, section 12304b; and

WHEREAS, when the Department of Defense received this expanded authority, Congress
did not make corresponding changes to United States Code, titles 10 and 38, thereby excluding
servicemembers on active duty orders under the section 12304b designation from being eligible
(1) for TRICARE benefits before, during, and after their deployment, (2) for Post-9/11 GI Bill
education benefits, and (3) for a reduction in their retirement age for their active duty service
under section 12304b; and

WHEREAS, on September 13, 2014, more than 40 soldiers from the Minnesota National
Guard's 204th Area Support Medical Company (ASMC) were deployed under United States
Code, title 10, section 12304b, on a nine-month active duty order to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt
in support of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO); and

WHEREAS, the MFO is an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the
1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Defense is growing increasingly concerned about the
dangerous conditions facing United States soldiers deployed to the Sinai Peninsula, as the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other radical insurgents have increased their attacks
against United States soldiers and military installations; and

WHEREAS, United States soldiers serving on the Sinai Peninsula face daily threats of
violence, but are not eligible for TRICARE benefits, Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits, and the
reduction in retirement age for active duty service; and

WHEREAS, upon return from the nine-month active duty order, the 204th ASMC unit was
notified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs that the unit's members were not
eligible for these benefits based on their nine-month deployment to the Sinai Peninsula under
section 12304b; and

WHEREAS, approximately 400 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry, of the
Minnesota National Guard are currently mobilizing under United States Code, title 10, section
12304b, to support the MFO mission in the Sinai Peninsula. The unit will deploy to Sinai in the
summer of 2016 and the deployment is expected to last for nine months; and

WHEREAS, this nine-month deployment to the Sinai Peninsula of approximately 400
soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry, of the Minnesota National Guard is not a
qualifying service for purposes of TRICARE benefits, Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits, and
the reduction in retirement age for active duty service; and

WHEREAS, on May 10, 2016, United States Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Amy
Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced the National Guard 12304b Benefits Parity Act (S.2913) to
ensure that Minnesota National Guard and Reserve members who were called to serve on active
duty under United States Code, title 10, section 12304b, can access their hard-earned health
care, education, and retirement benefits; and

WHEREAS, the National Guard 12304b Benefits Parity Act provides servicemembers
called to active duty under United States Code, title 10, section 12304b, (1) access to TRICARE
benefits throughout the National Guard's deployment cycle, (2) Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, and (3)
a reduction in retirement age for qualifying service on active duty. The Act is retroactive to the
passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (2012) to ensure that National Guard soldiers
that have been deployed, are currently deployed, or will be deployed have access to the same
benefits they would under other deployment authorities; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota that it urges the Congress
of the United States to pass the National Guard 12304b Benefits Parity Act.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota
is directed to prepare copies of this memorial and transmit them to the President and the
Secretary of the United States Senate, the Speaker and the Clerk of the United States House of
Representatives, the chair of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the chair of the House
Committee on Armed Services, the United States Secretary of State, and Minnesota's Senators
and Representatives in Congress.