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Background - Proposed Southern California State Veterans Cemetery

On January 9, 2014, California Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva introduced Assembly Bill 1453 (AB 1453) in the California legislature proposing to establish a Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Orange County. The legislation, which is also co-sponsored by Assemblymember Donald Wagner representing the City of Irvine, was approved by the State Assembly and Senate as of August 25, signed by Governor Brown on September 27, 2014 and is effective January 1, 2015.

On March 11, 2014 the Irvine City Council adopted Resolution No. 14-27, which, in part, supported the passage of AB 1453 and expressed the City Council’s strong interest in providing land at the Orange County Great Park to develop a State Veterans Cemetery. The City Council also established an Ad Hoc State Veterans Cemetery Committee to consider this matter. The Ad Hoc Committee was comprised of Irvine Mayor Steven Choi, Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway, a representative of Five Point Communities Management, Inc., a representative from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and two members representing veterans groups.

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he Ad Hoc State Veterans Cemetery Committee met on June 13, 2014 and on July 11, 2014.  The Committee considered and discussed information regarding potential sites and the process required to establish a State Veterans Cemetery, as well as receiving comments from interested members of the public. 

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n July 22, 2014 the Irvine City Council adopted Resolution No. 14-92 expressing its intent to convey the Amended and Restated Development Agreement (ARDA) Transfer Site (at the former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro) to the State for the purposes of creating the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery, subject to all necessary and appropriate studies, procedures, and agreements with the State and Federal governments. On September 27, 2014, AB 1453 was signed by Governor Brown and is effective January 1, 2015.

Next Steps

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Now that AB 1453 has been signed, the California Department of Veterans Affairs will prepare and submit a State Veterans Cemetery Grant Pre-Application to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.