SENATE, No. 2724

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MARCH 10, 2009

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator STEVEN V. OROHO

District 24 (Sussex, Hunterdon and Morris)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes task force to study treatment of veterans diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder in judicial proceedings.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act establishing a task force to study the treatment of veterans diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder in judicial proceedings.†

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† There is established a task force to study how veterans diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are treated in judicial proceedings.† The task force shall consist of 13 members:† the Senate President shall appoint one member from the same party as the Senate President who serves on the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veteransí Affairs Committee and one member from the same party as the Senate President who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Senate Minority Leader shall appoint one member from the same party as the Senate Minority Leader who serves on the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veteransí Affairs Committee and one person from the same party as the Minority Leader who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Speaker of the General Assembly shall appoint one member from the same party as the Speaker of the General Assembly who serves on the Assembly Military and Veteransí Affairs Committee and one member from the same party as the Speaker of the General Assembly who serves on the Assembly Judiciary Committee; the Assembly Minority Leader shall appoint one member from the same party as the Assembly Minority Leader who serves on the Assembly Military and Veteransí Affairs Committee and one member from the same party as the Minority Leader who serves on the Assembly Judiciary Committee; the Adjutant General, or a designee, from the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General, or a designee, from the Office of the Attorney General; the director of the Division of Mental Health Services, or a designee, from the Department of Human Services; and the Governor shall appoint two members of the public, one of whom has knowledge or experience of the New Jersey judicial system and one of whom who had knowledge or experience with at least one of the following areas:† PTSD, mental health, or the New Jersey judicial system.†

 

†††† 2.††† All appointments to the task force shall be made within 30 days after the effective date of this act.† Vacancies in the membership of the task force shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments were made.† The members of the task force shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenditures incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the task force within the limit of funds made available to the commission.


†††† 3.††† The task force shall organize as soon as may be practicable after the appointment of its members and shall choose a chairperson from among its members.† The task force shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the task force.†

 

†††† 4.††† The task force shall meet at the call of the chairperson.† The task force shall hold at least three public hearings in different parts of the State and elicit testimony from the public at such times and places as the chair shall designate.† A meeting of the task force shall be called at the request of seven of the task forceís members and seven members of the task force shall constitute a quorum at any meeting thereof.

 

†††† 5.††† The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs shall provide such clerical and other administrative assistants, and such professional staff, as the task force requires to carry out its work.†

 

†††† 6.††† It shall be the duty of the task force to identify and review the issues and concerns facing veterans of the United States Armed Forces and the New Jersey National Guard who have been diagnosed with PTSD and how that diagnosis has impacted their treatment in judicial proceedings.† The task force shall:

†††† a.†††† examine current data, research, programs, and initiatives related to the impact of PTSD upon veterans and how it has affected their treatment in judicial proceedings;

†††† b.††† identify effective strategies for the court system to adopt to effectively interact with veterans diagnosed with PTSD; and

†††† c.†††† develop recommendations to implement those strategies, including legislation or court rules, if appropriate, based on their findings.†

 

†††† 7.††† The task force shall issue a final report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), containing its findings and recommendations, including any recommendations for legislation or court rules that it deems appropriate, no later than nine months after the task force organizes.†

 

†††† 8.††† This act shall take effect immediately and the task force shall expire 30 days after issuance of its final report.†

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill establishes a task force to study how being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) impacts veterans in judicial proceedings.† The task force will consist of 13 members:† two members from the Senate Law and Public Safety and Veteransí Affairs Committee; two members from the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee; two members from the Senate Judiciary Committee; two members from the Assembly Judiciary Committee; the Adjutant General of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; the director of the Department of Human Servicesí Division of Mental Health Services; and the Governor will appoint two public members with knowledge or experience with post traumatic stress disorder, mental health, or the New Jersey judicial system.†

†††† The task force will examine current data, research, programs, and initiatives related to the impact of PTSD upon veterans and how it has affected their treatment in relation to court proceedings, identify effective strategies for the court system to adopt to effectively interact with veterans diagnosed with PTSD, and develop recommendations to implement those strategies, including legislation or court rules, if appropriate, based on their findings.†

†††† The task force will issue a final report to the Governor and to the Legislature containing its findings and recommendations no later than nine months after the task force organizes