Senator Simonaire Introduces Bill to Help Veterans with PTSD
Senator Bryan Simonaire of Anne Arundel County (District 31) has introduced Senate Bill 441 to establish the Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program. The bill establishes the Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program in the Department of Veterans Affairs to identify eligible veterans who may participate in the Program and be paired with service dogs.
More than 20 veterans commit suicide every day in America, including 2 veterans a week in Maryland. SB 441 establishes a Maryland program to partner with non-profits to help our veterans. Specifically, the program:
1) Creates a public/private partnership with non-profits that train service dogs to help veterans with PTSD and other issues
2) Uses the Department of Veterans Affairs' vast network of veterans to help get the word out and promote the program
3) Refers interested veterans to one or more of the partnered non-profits
4) Creates a funding mechanism to allow private donations, grants and state budgeted monies to assist in the training
5) Encourages successful veteran participants to help other veterans get the services they need
6) Looks to identify projects and areas where no services exist in Maryland.
The bill was recently heard by the Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee (with 7 sponsoring in that committee) and had compelling testimony from veterans, founders of non-profits, military doctors, and the former Nevada Secretary of Dept of Veterans Affairs.
If you are interested in learning more about this bill, you can contact Senator Simonaire's office at firstname.lastname@example.org . We thank Senator Simonaire for putting forward this needed bill!