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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 6, 2017 11:07 AM
From: Representative Peter Schweyer
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation Establishing the Veteran Suicide Prevention Grant Program
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation from last session (House Bill 1960) that would establish the Veteran Suicide Prevention Grant Program, to be administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA).

Often, we hear heartbreaking stories of how our veterans struggle with both the visible and invisible wounds of war. Many veterans become frustrated and disenfranchised with the extremely complicated veteran benefits system, eventually feeling that their only option is to end their life.

During a 2016 budget hearing, the Department of Veterans and Military Affairs (DMVA) confirmed that there was not a line item for veteran suicide prevention programs in Pennsylvania. Although the Veterans Trust Fund provides approximately $500,000 in funding for grants to statewide charitable organizations that assist veterans, there is not a permanent funding stream, specifically dedicated to veteran suicide prevention or a veteran suicide prevention program. I believe that this is unacceptable, therefore, I am introducing legislation to create the Veteran Suicide Prevention Grant Program.

This legislation would increase the fee for birth and death certificates by $2 (each). The generated revenue would be deposited into a fund, to be administered by DMVA, specifically for a competitive grant program, and awarded to entities who offer services, programs and activities to reduce the rate of suicide among veterans.

It is critical that we ensure that all of our veterans in the Commonwealth, and their loved ones, have the necessary resources and support for dealing with both the physical and psychological wounds of war.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this very important legislation.

Introduced as HB985