Sununu signs veterans court bill

Jul 08, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Over the Fourth of July holiday Gov. Chris Sununu signed HB 652, a bill that authorizes veterans courts in New Hampshire. 

The bill puts in law what is already happening in New Hampshire; courts in Nashua and Manchester have created programs for veterans to complete mental health and addiction treatment rather than go to trial. If the veteran completes the court-monitored treatment, he or she is not prosecuted in regular court.

HB 652 offers no state funding for the courts, but outlines ten "key components" for veterans courts and ensures that those courts are protected by law.

Supporters argue it is important for the state to recognize that veteran offenders are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and addiction. At the same time, those veterans have access to federally-funded treatment opportunities unavailable to other offenders. HB 652 establishes best practices for these vital services to veterans, statewide.

There was no specific law blocking veterans courts before HB 652, however, and the bill arguably won't have much of an impact for most veterans in New Hampshire. Some legislators believe that New Hampshire needs a state Department of Veterans Affairs to bolster support for veterans. 

Do you have any thoughts to share about veterans in the Granite State? Join the conversation in the comments.

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Christopher Sununu
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NH Governor (2016 - present); Executive Councilor (2010 - 2016); Owner/Director, Sununu Enterprises; CEO, Waterville Valley Ski Resort; Strategic Consultant; Environmental Engineer

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