WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), both veterans, joined Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to introduce the National Green Alert Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation would establish an interagency committee on the development of “Green Alert” systems that would be activated when an at-risk veteran goes missing.
“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 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.”
“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 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 National Green Alert Act of 2021 would establish a Green Alert System Advisory and Support Committee with members from the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice (DOJ), Transportation (DOT), and Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as state and local officials and veterans. Specifically, at least one DOJ official would be required to have experience coordinating the AMBER Alert communications network. The legislation would also require that at least one HHS official be an employee of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The Committee 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 an at-risk veteran’s disappearance. Additionally, the Committee 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.
To read the full text of the legislation, click HERE.
Earlier this week, Rep. Miller-Meeks and Sen. Ernst introduced bipartisan legislation to support the mental health needs of servicemembers and veterans as they return to civilian life in their local communities. The Daniel J. Harvey Jr. and Adam Lambert Improving Servicemember Transition to Reduce Veteran Suicide Act—which was named to honor the memory of two Marines who died by suicide, Iowan Cpl. Adam Lambert and Rhode Islander Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Harvey Jr.—would create a pilot program to add a new component to the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Specifically, the bill is designed to counsel servicemembers about mental health, the challenges that they might face during transition to civilian life and how that might affect their mental health, and the services available to them at their local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility.