LANSING – State Representative Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) this week won an amendment funding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) programs for veterans to House Bill 4788, which creates a new veterans’ license plate.
“Many veterans come back from war zones suffering in silence from the effects of PTSD because they don’t want to appear weak or unable to deal with their experience,” said Yanez. “By linking the fundraising from this new veterans’ plate to PTSD programs we can send the message that veterans should not be hesitant about asking for help, and that we are ready and willing to get them the services they need to be healthy and successful back here at home.”
House Bill 4788 would create a new Michigan license plate honoring Michigan veterans. The bill requires that the new plate be developed by June 1. Fundraising donations collected from sales of the new plate would be distributed to the Michigan Veterans Engagement Fund – a new fund created in HB 4788. Yanez successfully amended the bill to also distribute a portion of the funds raised to a PTSD fund as well. His amendment would designate that funds go toward education on the mental effects of war, PTSD and other service-related disabilities.
Other money raised by the new license plate going into the Veterans Engagement Fund would be disbursed monthly to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to be used for outreach activities with county veteran services offices, organizations providing local veteran services and other veteran service providers. In addition, at least 25 percent of the money disbursed would have to be dedicated for tuition support for members of the Michigan National Guard or the Children of Veterans Tuition Grant Program, at the discretion of the adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard.
Yanez’s amendment fulfills a recommendation in the recently released House Democrats’ Veterans’ Services Task Force Report. Yanez is a member of that task force. The report is available atwww.housedemtaskforces.com.
“As a member of our task force, I heard from many veterans about their experiences and the kind of services that would help them when they return home,” said Yanez. “I want to thank my colleagues for recognizing the importance of helping our veterans suffering from PTSD and supporting my amendment to make services more readily available to them.”