PROPOSED ORDER OF THE STATE OF WISCONSIN
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
The statement of scope for this rule, SS 038-14, was approved by the Governor on April 21, 2014, published in Register No. 701 on May 14, 2014, and approved by Secretary John A. Scocos on May 27, 2014. This rule was reviewed by the Board of Veterans Affairs on July 15, 2014 and approved by the Governor on August 20, 2014. A public hearing was held November 12, 2014 on both the emergency rule and permanent rule.
The Department of Veterans Affairs proposes and an order to amend VA 2 (title); and to create VA 2.07, relating to grants to non-profit organizations.
1. Statute interpreted: Section 45.46, Stats.
3. Explanation of agency authority:
Section 227.24 (1) (a), Stats., authorizes the Department to promulgate rules as emergency rules if preservation of the peace, health, safety, or welfare necessitates putting the rules into effect prior to the time they would take effect if the agency complied with the non-emergency procedures. Section 9 of 2013 Act 190 explicitly authorizes the Department to promulgate emergency rules, s. 227.24 (1) (a) and (3), Stats., notwithstanding. Section 227.10 (1), Stats., requires each department to promulgate as a rule each statement of general policy and each interpretation of a statute which it specifically adopts to govern its enforcement or administration of that statute. Further, (2m) requires rule promulgation before a department may implement or enforce any standard, requirement, or threshold. Section 227.11 (2) (a), Stats., authorizes the department to promulgate rules interpreting the provisions of any statute enforced or administered by the department, if the department considers it necessary to effectuate the purpose of the statute. Section 45.03 (2), Stats., authorizes the Secretary to promulgate rules necessary to carry out the purposes of Chapter 45 and the powers and duties conferred upon it.
4. Related statute or rule:
This rule administers a competitive grant program for the award of grants to nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to veterans or their families. Although the Department administers various grant programs to organizations and individuals, the existing rules are insufficient and inappropriate for the new grant authority. Grants provided under existing sections of Chapter VA 2 are not competitive grants as is created by this rule. The existing grants in Chapter VA 2 are awarded to individuals based on financial need and the satisfaction of certain established criteria. Grants under Chapter VA 7 are awarded in compliance with s. 45.41, Stats., which establishes eligibility criteria and specific award levels for veterans organizations that engage in veterans claims service. Grants under Chapter VA 8 are awarded in compliance with s. 45.82, Stats., which establishes a sliding-scale grant level to counties for improvement of service to veterans based on county population. Grants under Chapter VA 15 are awarded in compliance with s. 45.82, Stats., which establishes criteria and a sum-certain that is equally divided between qualifying tribes or bands that apply for the grant for improvement of service to veterans. Grants under Chapter VA 16 are awarded in compliance with s. 45.83, Stats., to counties that provide transportation to veterans; eligible counties receive a proportion of the total appropriation based on the number of miles veterans were transported during a specified 12-month period.
5. Plain language analysis:
This rule establishes the general criteria, procedures, requirements and conditions for the award of grants to nonprofits. It allows for grant applications from any nonprofit as defined in s.108.02 (19), to provide financial assistance or other services to veterans and their dependents. The applications are evaluated based upon 11 enumerated factors relating to both the specific merits of the plan and the experience of the applicant organization. Applicants are evaluated based upon different selection criteria, which will be assigned pre-determined point values by an evaluation committee. The department shall award grants to the applicants with the highest numerical score based upon the total score of the combined points. Each applicant will be notified in writing of the department's decision.
The rule provides for solicitation of applications for grants in the form of public notice. Each grant applicant will be asked to provide: (1) proof of nonprofit status; (2) information about itself; (3) description of the financial assistance or other services it provides to veterans and their dependents; and (4) description of the need for the requested funds.
6. Summary of and comparison with, existing or proposed federal regulations.
Research revealed no completely analogous grant program within the federal government, although the federal government offers grants to nonprofit organizations that provide certain specified services to veterans or their families, or provide services to a specific segment of the veterans' community, e.g., homeless veterans. An example is the US Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program that provides grants to private nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives who coordinate or provide support services to very low income veteran families who meet certain criteria related to housing. Program grantees are responsible for providing outreach, case management, linkages to VA benefits, and linkages to other public benefits. This federal grant program is the mechanism for delivering the USDVA's programmatic services via third-party organizations.
Conversely, the state grant program administered by this rule is intended to complement the WDVA's services by providing financial assistance to nonprofit organizations that provide services to veterans not offered by the WDVA.
7. Comparison with rules in adjacent states:
In reviewing the statutes, rules and websites of the veterans departments of adjacent states revealed no similar grant program.
8. Summary of factual data and analytical methodologies:
The department analyzed the grant processes of organizations experienced in the administration of competitive grants and used those processes as a foundation for the rule and application procedures.
9. Analysis and supporting documents used to determine effect on small business or in preparation of economic impact report:
There is no effect on small business. This is a voluntary grant program available only to certain nonprofit organizations.
10. Fiscal Estimate: The proposed rule changes will have no additional fiscal impact.
11. Effect on small business: The proposed rule changes will have no impact upon small businesses.
12. Comments and opinion prepared by the Board of Veterans Affairs: Pursuant to s. 45.03(2m), Stats., the Board of Veterans Affairs on July 15, 2014, voted to provide no written comment or opinion on the proposed rule.
13. Agency contact person:
Kathy Marschman, email@example.com n.gov, (608) 266-2256.
14. Public comments: