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Passage of law enforcement mental health bill latest example of Joe Donnelly’s effectiveness

INDIANAPOLIS - The U.S. Senate passed crucial legislation yesterday led by Joe Donnelly in support of the mental health and well-being of law enforcement officials, yet another bipartisan victory for Joe that makes it even clearer that he’s been an effective senator for Hoosiers.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Contact: Donnelly Press
Press@joeforindiana.com

INDIANAPOLIS - The U.S. Senate passed crucial legislation yesterday led by Joe Donnelly in support of the mental health and well-being of law enforcement officials, yet another bipartisan victory for Joe that makes it even clearer that he’s been an effective senator for Hoosiers.

The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which Joe introduced and passed out of the Senate yesterday, represents a major step forward for the well-being of peace officers. If the bill becomes law, it would assist law enforcement agencies by making grants available for peer mentoring programs, as well as developing new resources for mental health specifically tailored to help law enforcement.

The bill’s passage is another instance where Joe has been able to reach across the aisle to get things done in the Senate. It continues his string of legislative successes in 2017, where the House, Senate and presidency have all been controlled by Republicans, and success is dictated by an ability to work with both parties. Of the first 24 bills signed into law this year, Joe led two of them, helping set the pace at the start of the 115th Congress.

Joe’s track record as an effective senator, however, stretches far beyond this year, as he has a history of turning good ideas into reality, even if that requires reaching across the aisle. Ranked once again recently as the second most-bipartisan legislator in the Senate, Joe has routinely delivered for Hoosiers on the issues that matter to them, including the opioid crisis and mental health for veterans and service members.

Joe wrote the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act, a crucial piece of legislation that was signed into law in 2014 as part of a larger bill. Thanks to the Sexton Act, for the first time this year, all service members will receive annual mental health assessments to guarantee that they’re receiving the necessary care.

The last two National Defense Authorization Acts have also contained other provisions Joe led on mental health for veterans and service members. That includes increasing the number of physicians’ assistants to help meet rising demand for veteran and service member mental health, as well as new rules requiring military health care providers to have up-to-date suicide risk awareness and prevention methods.

Several provisions in last year’s Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, the major new law to address the opioid crisis, were pulled from earlier legislation Joe wrote, including efforts to improve best practices for doctors who are prescribing painkillers. Joe also introduced a successful amendment that makes it easier for first responders who take part in naloxone programs to help individuals get treatment.
Legislatively, Joe has also achieved several wins on the issues of health care and medical research.
Joe led the way on one of the few successful attempts to improve the Affordable Care Act by securing a two-year suspension of the medical device tax.

The 21st Century Cures Act, a major medical research bill signed into law by President Obama, contained several smaller bills from Joe’s Medical Innovation Agenda. Some of the provisions created by Joe will make it easier to bring new devices and treatments for rare diseases to the market.
Joe has also worked outside the legislative process to achieve major victories for Hoosiers. A small sampling of his successes there include helping with the recent resolution of issues for the VA’s new Crown Hill Cemetery; securing High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area funding for Marion and LaPorte Counties; promoting the use of the NSA Crane military facility; and rallying support for the VA’s health care center being built in St. Joseph County.

“Yesterday’s senate passage of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act is a win for law enforcement officers and their families in Indiana and all across the country,” said Peter Hanscom, campaign manager for Joe for Indiana. “It’s yet another crucial success that wouldn’t have been possible without Joe Donnelly, who once again has shown his ability to get things done for Indiana. He understands the importance of taking good ideas and turning them into reality, whether that requires reaching across the aisle or going around the legislative process entirely, and that’s another reason why he’s been so effective throughout his Senate tenure.”

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