Continuing to uphold his commitment to the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today introduced legislation that would improve the quality of life for members of the Coast Guard and their families by expanding the availability of quality child care, creating educational opportunities for spouses of active duty members and smoothing the transition to post-service life.
Begich is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard.
"With over 42,000 active duty members in the Coast Guard and many of them being away for days if not weeks at a time, it is so important that we provide a good quality life for both service members and their families," said Begich. "Active duty life for members of our armed services, especially maritime life, can be chaotic for spouses and families and this bill makes it a little bit easier for those families to get an education, transition to post-service life, and create better learning and childcare opportunities for kids."
Sen. Begich's Coast Guard Quality of Life bill seeks to improve life for active duty Coast Guard members in multiple categories including personnel, child care, education, and post-service life:
Child Care and Development:
Improves current Coast Guard authority for the management of child development centers (CDCs) at Coast Guard units and the use of family home day care in Coast Guard communities.
Establishes clearer training and safety standards for CDCs.
Authorizes a national reporting system for suspected violations of health, safety, and other standards and requirements CDCs and home-based child care services.
Allows the Coast Guard to use its housing construction funds to build or repair CDCs where needed.
Provides tuition assistance to spouses of active duty members who are seeking further education.
Expands portable career opportunities when relocating as the result of a change of duty station.
Enables the Coast Guard to cover textbooks and training materials from funds if resources are available.
Smooth Transition to Post-Service Life and Careers:
Improves improving awareness regarding transferability of their mariner training, skills, and experience in earning their merchant mariner credentials;
Expedites the issuance of sea service letters for those members planning to enter the maritime workforce after separating from the Coast Guard.
Enables the Coast Guard to expedite reimbursement of current and former members for inpatient and outpatient medical and dental care they and their families have received.
Expands the Coast Guard's authority to forgive financial debts owed to the U.S. government by current and former personnel that were incurred while on active duty in the Coast Guard.