State Rep. Danny Burgess on Monday announced he filed a trio of veterans bills for the 2018 Legislative Session to address mental health and licensing issues.
“I believe our most solemn responsibility as a state is to serve those who have served us,” said Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican, in a statement. “Veterans are Florida’s VIPs, and these bills together constitute its own Veterans Improvement Package (VIP) that will drastically improve the lives of veterans all throughout Florida.
“I am eager to discuss these critical pieces of legislation and will work tirelessly to see them pass in the 2018 Session.”
Here’s the rest of the release, with summaries of the bills:
Alternative Treatment for Veterans Pilot Program (HB 303): Veterans throughout the U.S. face mental health and substance abuse issues. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide affect between 2 and 17 percent of veterans returning from combat. This is a state of emergency.
Many effective treatments that help our combat veterans are not covered or currently utilized by the VA. This groundbreaking legislation will enable the state to partner with universities and non-profit organizations who currently provide alternative treatments to serve more of our combat veterans and help them truly overcome and conquer Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Services for Veterans and Their Families (HB 179): This bill establishes a statewide 211 program, staffed 24 hours, to give veterans a hotline if they are in crisis. This legislation will ensure that combat veterans and their families are promptly connected to behavioral health care referral and care coordination services in their time of need, no matter what time of day.
They were there for us in our darkest hour, and I believe it is our solemn duty to be there for them in theirs.
Temporary Employment or Appointment of Officers (HB 333): This legislation addresses the issue of excessive licensing or training requirements for returning service members.
This legislation says that upon proper documentation, former special forces operators are exempt from completing the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission approved basic recruit training program. They are the best of the best at what they do and Florida should recognize that.