State Senator Henri Martin (R-31) voted in favor of a bill to expand veterans benefits to certain individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or experienced military sexual trauma. Senate Bill 294 extends services to veterans with an other than honorable discharge for reasons that may be attributed to trauma.
As co-chair of the legislature’s Veterans Affairs Committee, in a press release Martin said that after the committee completed its review and approval of bills, it turned its attention to SB 294, An Act Concerning Benefits For Certain Veterans Who Have Been Diagnosed With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Or Traumatic Brain Injury Or Who Have Had An Experience Of Military Sexual Trauma.
“I think after the Veterans Affairs Committee voted all the bills out, my co-chair and I immediately turned to one another and we said the most important bill that we could move along in the Senate Circle and hopefully through the House Chamber and to the Governor to sign was this particular bill,” he said, reported the press release from Senate Republicans.
Statistics from the federal Department of Defense show that 80 percent of all wounds sustained in battle involve head injuries, Martin said, according to the press release. Of those, the release reported 44 percent develop PTSD. These conditions can have cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences that impact daily living, and without proper understanding, in the past lead to dishonorable discharges.
“For soldiers trying to adjust to civilian life, brain injury, PTSD, those who have had an experience of military sexual trauma, and the physical and mental health issues that accompany these conditions increase that difficulty,” Martin said in the press release. “Being able to receive adequate access to services, supports, and programs is essential to a soldier’s recovery and reintegration into civilian life.”
SB 294 passed unanimously in the Senate and now moves for a vote in the House of Representatives.
Martin, who is running for reelection, serves the communities of Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth, and Thomaston.