SACRAMENTO –Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) has issued the following statement following reports that the Department of Defense is requesting repayment of enlistment bonuses by some California National Guard members:
“Many Californians joined the military and completed their service with the promise of an enlistment bonus. Recent reports indicate that the Pentagon believes many of those bonuses were paid out in error and now seeks repayment from innocent service members. While this clearly is an issue that the federal government needs to address quickly, I intend to take action on the first day of session to encourage the Administration and Congress to fix this problem without penalizing service members and veterans. If the federal government is unwilling or unable help these veterans, I will introduce legislation to hold California residents harmless through this process.
“If necessary, I will ask for a budget allocation to cover the amount demanded by the federal government, and allow California residents to apply for funds so that they do not suffer the consequences of malfeasance or inappropriate actions of others. I have been working closely with one of the Monterey Bay area’s most effective veteran advocates and Advisory Board Member to the Monterey Veterans’ Transition Center, Jimmy Panetta, to help ensure that California protects its veterans. Further, I call on other states with residents experiencing this repayment demand to do the same.”
Assemblymember Stone will take action to ensure that California service members who received bonuses and are now being asked to repay them on December 5, 2016, the first day of the 2017-18 legislative session.