Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bills 117 and 120 into law today at the Department of Military Affairs. Governor Walker was joined by the Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard, Major General Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin National Guard officers, and National Guard family members at the bill signing ceremony.
Senate Bill 117 -- relates to the payment of travel expenses of National Guard members who are on state active duty. Under current law, National Guard members who are called to state active duty and incur reimbursable travel expenses are reimbursed using the state employee reimbursement limits which includes mileage, lodging, and meals. In some instances, Wisconsin National Guard soldiers and airmen are activated in state active duty and will serve with federal active duty military personnel whose travel reimbursement is calculated under federal regulations.
This bill reimburses members of the Wisconsin National Guard who are called to state active duty at the federal rate for travel expenses instead of the state rate. Reimbursement will be at the rate of an officer or enlisted member of equal rank in the corresponding branch of the United States Armed Forces.
"This law simplifies reimbursement for our National Guard members by aligning it with federal regulations and it also gives a level of equity to our state's service members," Governor Walker said. "I thank Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) for their leadership on this bipartisan bill."
Senate Bill 117 passed both the Senate and Assembly on voice votes. Senate Bill 117 is Act 44.
Senate Bill 120 -- relates to financial aid for service members and their immediate families. The 2009 -- 2011 Biennial Budget created an income tax check-off to collect contributions for providing financial assistance to the families of service members of the United States Armed Forces or the Wisconsin National Guard who are serving on active duty and are residents of the state. The program is administered by the Department of Military Affairs and provides up to $2,500 to immediate families of active duty military personnel facing a financial emergency. This bill expands eligibility to include the service members and removes the requirement that the service member be on active duty.
"This bipartisan bill allows a service member facing a financial crisis to have access to these donated funds whether they are on active duty or not," Governor Walker said. "I thank every Wisconsin citizen who donates to this fund on their income tax forms, and I thank Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) for their work on this bill."
Senate Bill 120 passed the Senate on a vote of 33 -- 0 and the Assembly on a voice vote. Senate Bill 120 is Act 45.