We often talk of “supporting our troops,” however as a society we often fall short. Historically speaking, this group is more prone to both homelessness and mental illness, due in no small part to the fact that we have done a poor job of properly reintegrating our service men and women back into civilian life.
Last year, in an effort to begin addressing this very real problem, Representative Tim Cosgrove (D – Murray) sponsored, and successfully passed HB 162 – Veterans Reintegration Task Force. The bill created a task force designed to find solutions to the very real problem of servicemembers not having (or in many cases not knowing about) services that are available to them when they return home.
The bill allotted the paltry sum of $10,000 from the General Fund to allow a 15 member commission to address these issues. In that short time, the group has worked to create a “one-stop shop” that veterans can access in order to get the services they need to return to normal, civilian lives.
But, there is still much work to be done. Unfortunately, HB 162 had an expiration date of November 30, 2012. So, for the past two months or so, the group has been unfunded and unable to meet as it is not officially recognized by the state.
It is for this reason that we applaud Senator Peter Knudson (Republican, Brigham City) for introducing SB 38 – Reauthorization of Veterans Reintegration Task Force (Knudson was the Senate sponsor of Cosgrove’s bill). Just as the bill title suggests, this bill would reauthorize the Veterans Reintegration Task Force so that they can continue to do the great and necessary work of giving back to those who have given to our country. The price tag has remained the same and the composition, presumably, will also be the same if and when this bill is passed.
Passage should not be much of an issue, as 42 of the 104 members of the 2012 legislature supported the measure so much that they signed up to be cosponsors of the bill. This example of bipartisanship is always welcome on the Hill, and Utah Political Capitol hopes and expects the same sort of cooperation on this important issue this year.
To contact Sen. Knudson, Click Here or call 435-723-2035
Impact on Average Utahn:
High Impact 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 No Impact
Necessary 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 Unnecessary
Great Bill 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 . -1 . -2 . -3 . -4 . -5 Poor Bill