WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-01) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would help states implement “Green Alert” systems to locate at-risk veterans when they go missing so that they can receive appropriate care, similar to the AMBER Alert system for children or Silver Alert system for older Americans.
“After returning home from protecting our nation and working to keep Americans safe, secure, and free, far too many veterans struggle with mental health concerns,” said Senator Hassan. “The National Green Alert Act would help states to set up a system to quickly locate at-risk veterans who go missing. This is an important step in upholding our commitment to providing veterans with the support that they have earned and deserve after all that they have sacrificed for our country.”
“As a combat veteran, I know firsthand the challenges and hardships many of our veterans experience when they return home from serving our country,” said Senator Ernst. “We owe it to these heroes to make sure they have the support and care they deserve. I’m hopeful that our bipartisan legislation, which will create an alert system to quickly help locate veterans who tragically go missing, will go a long way to protect those in crisis.”
“It is our collective responsibility to support our veterans, especially those who may be struggling with depression or PTSD from their time in service,” said Representative Pappas, who serves as Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “This legislation will support states’ abilities to create effective Green Alert systems to alert the public and greatly improve an at-risk veteran’s chances of returning home safely. I am proud to help introduce this bipartisan and bicameral legislation which furthers our collective goal of protecting the men and women who have worn our country’s uniform.”
“We are all familiar with AMBER and Silver Alerts and how effective they are, and it makes sense to have a system to help locate at-risk veterans during a time of need,” said Representative Miller-Meeks. “Making sure that our veterans receive the care they need is one of my top priorities as a Member of Congress. I am proud to join in introducing this reasonable and bipartisan legislation to better serve our veterans.”
The bipartisan National Green Alert Act would establish a commission with members from the Departments of Justice, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services, as well as state and local officials and veterans. The Commission would work to develop best practices and provide technical assistance to states to establish a Green Alert system that would be used to alert law enforcement and the public in the event of a veteran’s disappearance. Additionally, the Commission would provide a report to Congress after two years of enactment on recommendations for any appropriate additional actions to support states as they develop Green Alert systems. See bill text HERE.
Senator Hassan is working to ensure that veterans in New Hampshire and across the country have access to the resources and services that they need and have earned. The American Rescue Plan that Senator Hassan helped pass into law strengthens veterans’ health care services, including to support mental health and telehealth, and also includes significant funding for job training to help veterans get good-paying jobs. Senator Hassan also helped secure key priorities for Granite State veterans in the bipartisan veterans package that was signed into law earlier this year, including the Deborah Sampson Act, which Senator Hassan joined in introducing to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face. The bipartisan package also included a number of other measures cosponsored by Senator Hassan, including supporting veterans experiencing homelessness, helping veterans safely dispose of unwanted medication, and helping address the high rate of unemployment among veterans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, last year Senator Hassan cosponsored bipartisan legislation, which is now law, to improve veterans’ access to mental health care in New Hampshire and across the country.