Today, Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that legislation she is co-sponsoring to help veterans recover and heal from trauma associated with their service passed the Assemblys Committee on Veterans Affairs (A.8094). The measure, known as the Outdoor Rx Act, aims to create and encourage more outdoor recreation opportunities for veterans and their families.
Outdoor programs can be highly therapeutic and were lucky to have some of the best state parks right here in Western New York, Wallace said. New Yorks veterans sacrificed so much to protect the land we stand on and should be able to access all that our wonderful parks have to offer to help them heal from service-related trauma. This legislation ensures that state agencies serving veterans and our parks work together to make that happen.
As a member of the Assemblys Committee on Veterans Affairs, Wallace championed the bills passage, recognizing that outdoor and nature-based activities can have an invaluable therapeutic effect on those struggling with service-related traumas such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) or substance abuse disorder. The measure that Wallace helped pass through committee would facilitate collaboration between state agencies, veterans organizations and nonprofits to coordinate the use of lands to benefit veterans, veterans with service-connected disabilities, Gold Star families, and other military connected individuals.
Wallace has been a strong voice for veterans in the Assembly. Last month, she co-sponsored and helped pass a bill to combat homelessness among veterans in New York (A.5660). The measure passed both the Assembly and Senate and is one step closer to becoming law.
Wallace also recently introduced legislation to create a womens veterans advisory committee to ensure that women who serve are connected to the benefits and assistance they have earned.