Amendment #18 to S.1885

Veterans Court Pilot Program

Mr. Rogers of Norwood move that the bill be amended by adding the following sections:

SECTION 2.



JUDICIARY



Trial Court



0330-0344 For administration and transportation costs associated with a veterans court project pilot program and study established in section 33 of this act ……………………….. $100,000.



SECTION 33. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a 2-year veterans court project pilot program and study administered in Norfolk county and managed by a veterans court program director for the purpose of developing a model to implement veterans courts across the commonwealth. The veterans court program director shall be selected by the chief justice of the trial court and the secretary of the department of veterans’ services after a publically advertised request for applicants. The director shall be an employee of the trial court.



(b) There shall be established a veteran court advisory board consisting of 8 members: the attorney general of the commonwealth, or a designee; the secretary of veterans’ services, or a designee; the chief justice of the trial court, or a designee; the executive director of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, or a designee; the commissioner of the department of mental health, or a designee; the commissioner of the department of public health, or a designee; a member of the community who has served or a family member of someone who has served, designated by the secretary of veterans services; and the chief counsel of the committee for public counsel services, or a designee.



(c) The veterans court program director shall meet quarterly with the veterans court advisory board and together shall make recommendations to the chief justice of the trial court and to the court administrator on the implementation of sections 20 and 21 of chapter 108 of the acts of 2012. The veterans court program director shall have duties that include, but are not limited to: (i) developing a detailed summary of data collected through the pilot program; (ii) recommending best practices for implementing a veterans court; (iii) analyzing costs associated with implementing veterans courts across the commonwealth; (iv) studying the efficacy of the models used in the pilot program; and (v) coordinating with Mission Direct Vet to develop a summary of the organization’s findings and efficacy of Mission Direct Vet pilot programs.



(d) The chief justice of the trial court with the advice and consent of the veterans court advisory board shall submit a detailed report of findings, recommendations and plans to expand veterans courts throughout the commonwealth to the joint committee on veterans and federal affairs, joint committee on the judiciary, joint committee on mental health and substance abuse and house and senate committees on ways and means not later than 2 years after the date of hire of the veterans court program director.