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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: November 19, 2013 04:07 PM
From: Senator Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Tax check-off funding for veterans' services PSAs
In the coming weeks, I plan to introduce SB 1143 and SB 1144 to create the Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Assault Public Service Announcement Fund.

During the last decade, the deployment of American forces in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan has resulted in thousands of cases of traumatic brain injuries among our troops. The Department of Defense estimates that they account for 22 percent of all combat casualties, an 83 percent increase from the rate experienced during Viet Nam. Most of the injured experience the symptoms of the brain injury for up to two years afterward. In addition, one in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, more than 300,000 veterans of those two wars alone, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms of PTSD can linger for decades, and both TBI and PTSD are often tied to increased rates of substance abuse, increasing the challenges of returning to normal routines and lives. In recent years, additionally, awareness of the problem of sexual assault within the military has been increasing. Earlier this year, the Pentagon reported more than 26,000 assaults during 2012, with more than half (an estimated 14,000) involving male victims. Veterans now account for about 20 percent of all suicides in the United States, despite being only about seven percent of the overall population, and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have a rate four times higher than other veterans.

Document #1

Introduced as SB1143

Description: My first bill, SB 1143, will provide for a voluntary check-off on the state individual income tax form to fund the Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Assault Public service Announcement Fund to underwrite the costs of informing veterans and their families dealing with these issues of federal and state services available to help them.

Document #2

Introduced as SB1144

Description: My second bill, SB 1144, will create the fund, which will be used by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to cover public service announcements to inform veterans of the services, programs, and benefits available on both the Federal and State level relating to traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and military sexual trauma.