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jerrybrownprisons.jpgCalifornia voters will decide next June whether the state should restructure $600 million in bonds to help build apartments and houses for low-income veterans, under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Thursday.

If approved by voters, Assembly Bill 639, by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, will shift $600 million in unused bonding authority from Proposition 12, which voters approved in 2008 to provide money for home loans for veterans, to pay for the program.

"After veterans serve our country, it's our duty to serve them," Brown said in a prepared statement after signing the legislation in San Diego. "This new reformed housing program will make life better for veterans for years to come."

The funding shift would leave the state with about $530 million in bonds for its existing home loan program.

The bill was one of 13 veteran-related bills the Democratic governor announced signing Thursday. Among the others, Assembly Bill 556, by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, will add "military and veteran status" to the list of categories protected from discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters at a news conference at the Capitol on Sept. 9, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua



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