HARRISBURG, PA — The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness (VAEP) Committee unanimously supported legislation drafted by Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) that would urge the federal government to make the resiliency of the country’s infrastructure a priority.
House Resolution 231 would ask the federal government to improve resiliency requirements for buildings and infrastructure systems built before and after flood-related catastrophes, enhance the use of natural defenses in planning and preparedness, and reduce unsustainable development in high-risk areas.
“It is important for the federal government to recognize the impact that rising population has on our infrastructure, along with land use patterns and severe weather. Since 2000, flood-related disasters have caused more than $750 billion in losses around the country,” Barrar said.
More than 250 elected officials from across the United States have signed a Statement of Principles supporting resilient infrastructure that will reduce risk and better meet economic, environmental and social needs.
During the meeting, the committee also supported legislation to reauthorize the sunset provision for the Commonwealth’s 911 System under Title 35, transfer fines paid by anyone who violates the Stolen Valor Act to the Veterans’ Trust Fund and amend the Price Gouging Act to clarify when it is in effect.
After receiving support from the VAEP Committee, the three bills and one resolution move to the full House for consideration.
On Monday, the committee held an informational meeting about the Act 66 of 2007 Veterans Service Officer Program, which assists veterans with their federal VA claims. Matt Zamosky, president of the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors, noted that veterans service officers helped veterans capture more than $140 million in federal compensation and pension benefits from claims submitted through the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
The program represents a significant opportunity for veterans and their families, as it can be challenging to navigate the many programs and services available for them.
Testifiers spoke of the struggle associated with limited funding, especially as claims from Blue Water Navy will soon be acknowledged for the first time. As Pennsylvania is home to the fourth largest veteran population in the nation, this will impact the ability to serve the state’s veterans.
Source: Stephen Barrar (R), Pennsylvania House of Representative serving District 160
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