Governor Brian P. Kemp signed HB 414, SB 21, and HB 175 into law on Tuesday, accompanied by First Lady Marty Kemp, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Veterans Service (GDVS) Colonel Patricia Ross, Major General Tom Carden of the Georgia National Guard, representatives from major veterans organizations in the state, and members of the General Assembly.
“I am deeply grateful to the Georgia Department of Veterans Service and the members of the General Assembly for their unwavering commitment to those who have served in the Armed Forces,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “This important legislation provides support and resources for the brave men and women who have worn a uniform for our country, and Georgia is proud to be a state that honors and values its veterans.”
HB 414, sponsored by Rep. Shaw Blackmon, Rep. Matt Hatchett, Rep. Al Williams, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, and Rep. Farooq Mughal and carried by Sen. Ben Watson, establishes a mental health support program grant for veterans and their families.
The GDVS will administer the Veterans Mental Services grant program.
“We are thankful for Governor Kemp’s support for our military and veteran communities. Ensuring access to high-quality mental and behavioral healthcare is vital for the continued well-being of our military service members, veterans, and their families,” said Patricia Ross, Commissioner of Georgia Department of Veterans Service. “The GDVS is committed to building a strong network of support for our state’s selfless heroes.”
Subject to the availability of funding, competitive matching grants will be awarded to nonprofit community behavioral health programs that meet eligibility criteria.
To be considered for funding, programs must:
-Provide behavioral health services
-Utilize evidence-based practices
-Integrate military cultural competency training for staff members
-Connect clients with appropriate community-based behavioral health services upon discharge in a timely manner.
The application for consideration for grant funds will be available soon and nonprofit community behavioral healthcare providers with experience in treating military service members and veterans are encouraged to apply.
SB 21, sponsored by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, Sen. Mike Dugan, Sen. Larry Walker, Sen. Frank Ginn, and Sen. Blake Tillery and carried by Rep. Josh Bonner, makes needed changes to the Georgia Veterans Service Foundation to better mobilize its resources for the benefit of those it serves.
HB 175 includes provisions championed by the Georgia Department of Veterans Service removing burdensome requirements to our state’s disabled veterans and creating a specialty license plate for Retired Georgia National Guard and Retired Active Duty Reserve members.
For a full list of Department of Revenue (DOR) specialty plates, click here.