Sunday, 03 March 2024

Legislation signed to help vets get PTSD screening

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sept. 30 signed SB 1401 by Sen. Joe Simitian (D- Palo Alto) and AB 3083 by the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, measures that will extend mental health services to veterans and assist veterans in getting screened for post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.


The Governor also announced he has signed six additional bills that will benefit California veterans, military personnel and their families.


“I know I speak for all Californians when I say the state has tremendous respect for its veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our freedom – and the bills I have signed demonstrate California’s commitment to our veterans, active duty personnel and the families who support them,” said Schwarzenegger.


“These measures recognize that current veterans returning from a combat zone should be screened for post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries as soon as they get home, and that they should have access to timely and appropriate mental health services whether through the VA or the county mental health system,” the governor added.


SB 1401 by Sen. Joe Simitian (D- Palo Alto) requires the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Military Department to develop plans to reach out to National Guard members or veterans returning to California from combat and assist them in obtaining a screening for post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.


AB 3083 by the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs requires the Department of Health Care Services, in conjunction with the Department of Mental Health, to seek all available federal funding for mental health services for veterans.


The bill also extends mental health services provided by the Adult and Older Adult Mental Health System of Care Act to include veterans, and requires counties to provide mental health services to veterans to the extent such services are available to other adults.


The bill defines a serious mental disorder or illness to include bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and requires the Department of Mental Health to include services for veterans within target population service standards.


Gov. Schwarzenegger also signed the following veterans-related legislation:


  • SB 1353 by Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Montclair) authorizes a state employee who is a member of the National Guard or Reserves to receive specified compensation benefits for four additional years, if ordered to serve on and after Sept. 11, 2001, as a result of the War on Terrorism.

  • SB 1534 by Sen. Jim Battin (R-La Quinta) authorizes uniformed public safety personnel in California to wear decorations or medals authorized by the Military and Veterans Code, the U.S. Armed Forces, the National Guard or the Military Reserve or Naval Militia on and around Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

  • AB 190 by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) authorizes, after local approval, veterans whose vehicles display one number of military special-recognition license plates to park in metered parking spaces without charge.

  • AB 2049 by Assemblymember Lori Saldaña (D-San Diego) requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene a task force to review and make recommendations regarding the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children and to report to the Legislature by January 1, 2009.

  • AB 3065 by the Committee on Veterans Affairs enables veterans who have retired from active military service, were honorably discharged from active duty with a service-connected disability or honorably discharged from active duty to apply for state civil service promotional examinations.

  • SB 1495 by Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) allows a taxpayer to retain the disabled veteran’s property tax exemption in the case of a partial loss of the taxpayer's home due to a misfortune or calamity, and a full or partial loss due to a major disaster for which the governor has declared a state of emergency.


On Sept. 29 Schwarzenegger signed AB 2171 by Assemblymember Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) which begins the process towards the construction of the Purple Heart Memorial in State Capitol Park in Sacramento.


Late last month the governor announced the signing of SB 1455 by Sen. Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto), which authorizes the creation of the Gold Star Family License Plate and allows a family member of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces killed on active duty to apply for the plate containing a gold star and the words “Gold Star Family.” As a token of the state's appreciation for their sacrifice, the bill provides a special waiver of some fees for Gold Star Families.


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