HARRISBURG – Legislation that would enhance outreach assistance and support programs for Pennsylvania’s veterans has passed the House of Representatives and is on its way to the governor, according to Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), who sponsored the measure.
Baker, who serves as chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said Senate Bill 915 will provide financial assistance to the Veterans Administration accredited service officer programs offered by nationally chartered veteran service organizations. These include the American Legion, AMVETS, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and the Disabled American Veterans.
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will coordinate the program and work to enhance the availability of veterans’ assistance throughout the state, to measure performance and program outcomes, and most importantly, ensure the continual improvement of services to Pennsylvania’s veterans.
“Many veterans’ groups helped to provide input on this legislation, and I believe it represents a tremendous starting point for providing more coordinated and proactive veterans’ outreach and services,” Baker said. “Our goal is to better manage the continuum of services across state, county, and independent programs, so that the men and women who have given so much to our country and Commonwealth, can receive the support they need to regain their mental, physical and economic health, to reconnect with themselves and their community and resume productive lives.”
Since August 1990, Pennsylvania has ranked fourth in the nation for the number of armed service members serving on active duty with at least one in four of today’s soldiers returning from combat seeking federal Veterans Administration compensation for service-connected injuries or illnesses.
“Given the complexity of the federal claims process, our large veterans community, and the demonstrated success of similar efforts, the need for a more effective veterans outreach program here in Pennsylvania is great,” Baker said. “I am pleased that this legislation received such tremendous support in the Legislature and is headed to the governor for his signature.”
PLEASE NOTE – to hear Senator Baker’s audio remarks on Senate Bill 915, please go to www.pasenategop.com.
Contact: Brian Grove