2018 Iowa General Assembly
- 24 HOUR HOLD FOR VETS THREATENING SUICIDE. Iowa’s vet suicide rate is 20% higher than the national average for post-911 war vets. This bill requires a 24-hour observed hold by ANY veteran requesting admission at a hospital or psychiatric facility due to suicidal tendencies. Does not require new facility construction. Only the physical presence of a nurse for 24 hours.Currently it is House File 482.
- MST/MSA SECONDARY JURISDICTION. Allow Iowa civilian courts to hear cases regarding military rape and military sexual assault (MSA) even though the incident may have occurred while the Reservist or Guardsman was covered by federal law. There is a need for this bill, especially in the Reserve forces, because of scarce legal resources within the military. Sexual assault incidents are reported with no follow through. Iowa needs to take care of its own, and punish those that act in this reprehensible manner.
- ADEQUATE FUNDING TO IVH FOR VETERANS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE The VNRC released a statistical analysis showing that younger vets are denied admission to the Iowa Veterans Home on a regular basis. This is because funding for younger vets requires IVH and the state to pay 30% of costs, as opposed to 10% of costs for veterans that are eligible for Medicare beginning at age 62. Many veterans of the post 9-11 wars need long term residential treatment because they are not capable of long term stability on their own. Also, these same Post 9-11 veterans have fewer options for care than do older veterans.
- FIREWORKS CONTROL. The VNRC unsuccessfully opposed last year’s fireworks deregulation bill. Sice, public outrage and numerous complaints have caused many cities of initiate total bans on fireworks. While VNRC strongly supports these local total bans, VNRC also supports undoing the new dangers the bill created for PTSD veterans statewide.
- PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY. We ask that a concurrent resolution be passed and sent to Washington to request that the VA change the regulation relating to Peripheral Neuropathy and give redress to those veterans that have been denied VA treatment because of the regulation. Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition that occurs when the nerves in toes and feet die. It leads to amputations and is usually associated with Diabetes. However, Vietnam Veterans with a history of Agent Orange contact have contracted the condition without being diabetic. Unfortunately, VA regulation requires that the condition be reported within a year of the event. The initial acquisition of peripheral neuropathy without the companion blood sugar issues means that it is often overlooked by doctors. Consequently, the illness is overlooked by doctors until an emergency occurs several years later. This results in a denial of services by the VA.
- SERVICE DOGS PROTECTED FOR HOUSING ACCESS & PUBLIC SERVICES FOR DISABLED VETS Service dogs are an increasingly important rehabilitation asset for veterans with PTSD. Generally, accessibility to these dogs by the veteran at all times is necessary to the veteran’s ability to integrate into civilian society. We support legislation to insure housing access, including subsidized housing, and access to all public accommodations to veterans with service dogs that have been prescribed as an element of therapy. There is a legislation on the subject of service dogs in the works.
- REVISE MEDICAL MARIJUANA TO ALLOW VETS WITH PTSD, TBI, MST TO BE ELIGIBLE. Last year’s medical marijuana bill was a disaster for veterans with PTSD, TBI and MST. It effectively forces many PTSD vets – especially those from the Vietnam era – to break the law to mitigate their affliction. We support any effort to reverse what occurred in the Iowa House and restore the original intent of the Senate bill.
Legislator Point of Contact for these issues is Bruce Beeston, Vice President, Legislative Affairs, Veterans National Recovery Center.