Harrisburg, PA – October 30, 2019 – Today, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bi-partisan resolution aimed at improving the coordination of services for Pennsylvania’s 840,000 veterans. The Resolution was introduced by Senator Pam Iovino, a 23-year Navy veteran and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as Senator Mike Regan, Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness. The Resolution, with 15 Republican and 22 Democratic co-sponsors, passed the Senate unanimously.
Senate Resolution 170 (SR 170) directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish a task force of experts to study the coordination of veterans’ services in the Commonwealth among all federal, state, local, not-for-profit, and private organizations. The task force will conduct a comprehensive review and analysis of laws, regulations, policies and procedures of the Commonwealth and other states regarding the coordination of veteran services, and will issue a report with findings and recommendations to the Senate within one year.
“Almost 6,000 entities are involved in delivering services to Pennsylvania veterans, often creating a navigation nightmare for the veteran seeking assistance. The coordination of services this task force will study will result in a simplified process and greater accessibility for Pennsylvania’s veterans,” said Senator Pam Iovino (D – Allegheny & Washington), Democratic Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness. “Passing this legislation in advance of Veterans Day, we are sending a message to Pennsylvania’s veterans that they are a priority and that we want to take every possible step to help them access the services they have earned.”
“When it comes to support and services to veterans, there are a countless array offered by the federal and state government, as well as by many veterans and civic-minded organizations,” said Senator Regan (R – Cumberland & York). “Unfortunately, it is not always easy to navigate this broad array of services. As such, it’s my hope that this Task Force will provide us with ways to better coordinate veterans services and communicate them to veterans in Pennsylvania.”
“We appreciate the efforts of Senators Iovino and Regan, and the entire Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee for establishing this task force to further study veterans outreach and support programs within the Commonwealth,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). “Senate Resolution 170 will provide critical information about local, state and federal resources to help shape DMVA’s PA VetConnect initiative which will better connect veterans to programs and services they are entitled to because of their service. We look forward to the task force’s report, and to working with the legislature to improve the coordination of services for all of our veterans and their families.”
“Every day we help Veterans navigate the sprawling network of organizations that provide services, so it is clear that a systematic approach is needed to improve coordination,” said Dr. Ben Stahl, CEO of the Veterans Leadership Program. “This legislation is exactly what we need to make good on our commitment to those who have served our nation. I appreciate Senator Iovino’s leadership and advocacy on behalf of Pennsylvania Veterans.”
Click here to watch Senator Iovino’s remarks today on the Senate floor.