Behning: Supporting our veterans

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Monday, February 15, 2016 8:02 am

Supporting our veterans

We are now at the halfway point of session, and bills have switched chambers. The House of Representatives sent 116 bills to the Senate, and the Senate sent over 151 bills. At this point in time, four of my bills are being considered by the Senate, and one has already been signed into law. In addition to the legislation I authored, the House supported legislation that would benefit Hoosier veterans and service men and women. 

As a state representative for over 20 years, I have seen the hardships and obstacles our veterans have faced. As my son is a pilot in the United States Air Force, I see firsthand the sacrifices these men and women make for you and me. With Indiana being home to about 550,000 veterans, we must do our best to serve them just as much as they have served us. 

House Bill (HB) 1089 was proposed to better address the needs of those who have bravely served and are currently serving our country. At this time, the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs is not accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, forcing it to forego approximately $853 million in federal veteran benefits. This leaves many counties underserved and veterans’ needs unmet. To supply additional support, HB 1089 creates six newly designated districts for county veteran’s service officers (CVSO) that currently lack resources to properly serve the local community. By requiring the commission to create these new districts across the state, each with an appointed district service officer, veteran issues can be addressed more quickly and efficiently at the local level.

In addition to supporting our veterans, we also need to provide support for Hoosier military families. For many veterans, adjusting to life back at home can be difficult. This legislation would help families overcome the effects of violence and curb destructive behavior patterns—sometimes a result of post-traumatic stress disorders and traumatic brain injuries—by involving the U.S. Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program (FAP) in cases of abuse and neglect. Because the FAP staff members are trained to respond to incidents of abuse and neglect, support victims, and offer prevention and treatment, they have the tools and experience needed to help Hoosier veterans, active service men and woman and their families. While we all hope that families will not need these services, HB 1271 provides the resources necessary to helping those who do. 

Moving forward, the House will be considering Senate bills. There are many pieces of legislation under deliberation, and I encourage you to visit www.iga.in.gov to learn more. As your state representative, it is my responsibility to make sure your voice is heard at the Statehouse. Please contact me at h91@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9643 to share your thoughts with me.

 

-30-

State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents

portions of Marion and Hendricks counties.