HARRISBURG – The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee today voted to approve legislation introduced by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) that would improve oversight of the six state-operated veterans homes in Pennsylvania.
“Our veterans served our country in its time of need and we need to make sure these veterans homes are properly serving them,” said Mastriano, who chairs the committee and is a U.S. Army combat veteran. “My bill would provide enhanced oversight and accountability in an effort to improve service at Pennsylvania’s state-run veterans homes.”
Mastriano’s Senate Bill 933 would establish a Statewide Veterans Home Advisory Board within the Office of Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans’ Affairs.
The board would serve as an advisory body to develop and improve services, care and treatment for residents in Pennsylvania veterans homes.
The committee also approved Senate Bill 792, which would establish an urban search and rescue task force in western Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania currently has only one search and rescue task force, which is located in Philadelphia. Western Pennsylvanians sometimes must wait hours for equipment and personnel to travel from the southeast corner of the state to the scene of an emergency.
“The western half of Pennsylvania deserves its own search and rescue task force to provide quick response in emergency situations,” Mastriano said. “In an emergency, minutes can mean the difference between life and death. This bill would enhance the commonwealth’s ability to respond to emergencies. The western Pennsylvania search and rescue task force would supplement the one that already exists in Philadelphia.”
Both bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.
Media contact: Josh Herman