House Bill 370, No Veteran Left Behind Act, on Tuesday, April 13, cleared the House Homeland Security, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee. The bill, which heads to the Appropriations committee, is designed to help improve how local law enforcement and first responders assist and respond to veterans in crisis.
“The No Veteran Left Behind Act will help address an important need in our state by providing local officials with additional support in assisting their veteran communities,” primary bill sponsor, House Majority Leader John Bell, R-Wayne, says in a statement. “Our veterans face unique challenges, especially those who have recently returned from combat. This bill will help improve training and services for veterans who are dealing with mental health and substance abuse emergencies.”
The measure creates a pilot program for several military and veteran heavy counties to enhance training for local law enforcement and first responders in veteran-specific crisis intervention, a news release says. This includes Brunswick, Craven, Cumberland, Onslow, Union and Wayne counties.
The training will be administered through The Independence Fund Inc., a North Carolina-based nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of veterans and their families.
Majority Leader Bell is joined by Speaker of the House Tim Moore, R-Cleveland; Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow; and Rep. Charlie Miller, R-Brunswick, as primary sponsors of the bill.