ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A bill is headed to House floor for a vote. Delegate Mike Rogers recently submitted the bill to better reflect the help our veterans are getting.
Delegate Rogers represents District 32, Western and Northen Anne Arundel County, for the Maryland House of Delegates. He's also a veteran who spent 32 years in the Marines and Army.
"I served my country so now I get a chance to serve my community and state," said Delegate Rogers. "I’m certainly aware of the service and sacrifice that many veterans make as well as their families and so it’s just an opportunity to give back and make sure folks understand some of the challenges that are unique to veterans and their families."
The bill updates the Outreach and Advocacy Program in the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Delegate Rogers explained how this bill "helps get the word out to the veterans about the different programs and entitlement that they have and it allows the department to have better interface."
The outreach program was first created 15 years ago. Back then, they could only reach a couple thousand veterans. Now, with an increase in technology and social media they're able to reach more than 175,000 veterans a month. Something that's just continuing to expand.
"This legislation really speaks to the Evolution of the outreach program within the department. It encourages community organizations and the veteran community to reach out to our department to learn more about what we’re doing, and it also ensures that we as a department are being full transparent in the way that we’re sharing information in the veteran community," said Dana Burl the Program Director for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
She explained how they reach their veterans.
"We really work hard to ensure that we are active across government across commissions across subject matters up to the federal government down to local government that we are engaging with the nonprofit community as well as getting out to the community," said Burl.
Since this is already happening, the change in legislation won't cost the taxpayers anything. This bill will just better reflect what the agency does to help veterans.
This came up last year, but it was passed the deadline to submit a bill. Delegate Rogers is hopeful by submitting early, it will pass to better help those who've served.
"A lot of times when I travel across the state, I run into veterans that are impacted in various ways and they’re not aware of the entitles they earned so this will go a long way to make sure they’re aware of those entitlements," he said.
The bill will be heard and voted on by the house on Tuesday, February 8. If it passes the house and the senate, it will head to the governor's desk for a signature.