Assembly Approves Garcia’s Effort to Designate Cathedral City’s LGBT Veteran Memorial as Official State Memorial

Veteran Legislation Championed by Local Assemblymember Progresses

(SACRAMENTO-CA)Today, Cathedral City Mayor Stan Henry and Mayor Pro-tem Greg Pettis joined Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) at the State Capitol for a historic vote to designate the city’s LGBT Veterans Memorial as the official LGBT Veterans Memorial of California. The Assembly voted in overwhelming support of Garcia’s AB 2439, the legislative measure proposing the classification and applauded the City’s longstanding history of recognizing veterans and promoting equality.

“California must honor all the brave men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces. This memorial is a testament to honor the contributions the LGBT community has made to the security of the United States,” stated Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “The Cathedral City LGBT Veteran Memorial is the first of its kind within the entire nation and is well deserving of this recognition.”

“This feat would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts and vision of Mr. Tom Swann, AMVETs Post 66 as well as leadership, forward-thinking and support of the Palm Springs Cemetery District and Cathedral City.”

The Memorial was first dedicated at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City on May 27, 2001. Presidents Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama have all sent special letters praising this memorial, as have three California Governors; Davis, Schwarzenegger, Brown.

“We have had an LGBT Veterans memorial in Cathedral City since 2001 and with the assembly bill passing today out of the assembly that helps create that as a state memorial and not just a local memorial. That is here in Cathedral City. That is great for Cathedral City it’s great I think for the city or the state to be able to recognize our LGBT veterans.  So we are thankful for Assemblyman Garcia and for the Assembly for passing it,” shared Cathedral City, Mayor Stan Henry.

"Designating it as the state memorial it will be on all the state materials and everything and really recognizes thousands of people that have served honorably and need to be recognized,” said Cathedral City, Mayor Pro-tem Greg Pettis, the city’s longest-serving Councilmember and the first openly gay elected official in the Coachella Valley. “It really is there for reflection and for people to come and remember the people.”

AB 2439 would make California the first state in the union to have an official state LGBT Veterans Memorial. Today’s Assembly approval will advance this measure on to the Senate.

In addition to this veteran memorial designation, Assemblymember Garcia is championing several other measures to provide our valiant veterans with much-needed resources and services.

Garcia’s 2018 Veteran Bill Package

AB 1786 (Cervantes, E. Garcia), Community colleges: academic credit for prior military experience would establish an articulation officer within the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to develop a program to facilitate the transition of recent veterans to institutions of higher education.

AB 1883 (Weber, E. Garcia), Human services: child care and development services: food assistance benefits would not include the military basic allowance for housing as part of calculated income for purposes of eligibility determination for child care, early education and CalFRESH.

AB 2170 (Choi, E. Garcia), Veterans education and training: California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education would require the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education to provide for the certification of nanodegree for completing certain vocational education programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concentrations for veterans returning from military service on or after September 11, 2001, offered by California institutions of higher education as part of their participation in veterans education and training programs authorized by the federal Higher Education Act.

SB 1043 (Newman, E. Garcia), Department of Veterans Affairs: Veterans’ Services proposes an annual appropriation of $7,000,000 from the General Fund to the Department of Veterans Affairs to be available for allocation to counties to fund the activities of county veterans service officers.

AB 2394 (Brough, E. Garcia), Military Retirement Pay would allow working veterans to have their military retirement benefits exempt from state income tax.

AB 2325 (Irwin, E. Garcia), County mental health services: veterans prevents a county from denying an eligible veteran county mental or behavioral health services while the veteran is waiting for a determination of eligibility for, and availability of, mental or behavioral health services provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

SB 1137 (Vidak, E. Garcia), Veterans: professional licensing benefits would direct CalVet and the Department of Consumer Affairs to actively notify veterans and their spouses of the benefits already afforded to them through existing communication channels.