Toomey gathers with local veterans to discuss legislation
Last Modified: February 16. 2013 10:27PM
One bill, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama last month, enhances security and reporting requirements regarding sexual assaults at Veterans Administration facilities nationwide.
A June 2011 Government Accountability Office report found serious inadequacies in measures to prevent sexual assault in VA facilities, due to underreporting, poor oversight and lack of adequate security. In response, Toomey, R-Zionsville, introduced the Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention Act to protect VA facility patients from sexual assault. The legislation mandates a new standard of care and protection for patients at VA facilities, including new reporting procedures, an oversight system and enhanced physical security measures.
The other bill, which was introduced earlier this year and is now in the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, seeks to combat the high unemployment rate amongst returning veterans by creating a website to better match their skills and training experience with jobs in the private sector.
According to State Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, who was amongst a bipartisan group of elected officials who flanked Toomey while he spoke, the unemployment rate for male veterans ages 18-24 last year was 29 percent. Conversely, the rate was 17.6 percent for males in the same age range who did not serve. Those numbers come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
‚??As bad as this economy has been for civilians, it‚??s been even worse for our veterans,‚?Ě Boback said.
As Toomey spoke about what he called ‚??a no brainer,‚?Ě he said he was ‚??hopeful‚?Ě that the bill would garner bipartisan support and become law.
See Friday's Times Leader for the full story.