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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 6, 2019 10:28 AM
From: Representative Peter Schweyer
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing the Veteran Suicide Prevention Grant Program
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 is no 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.

By increasing the fee for birth and death certificates by $2 (each), a permanent and dedicated fund would 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.

This is a reintroduction of former House Bill 985 of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session.

Introduced as HB951