Sinema-Backed Bill Helps Veterans Access Outdoor Therapy

Oct 9, 2019

WASHINGTON – Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored a bipartisan bill that helps expand public land access to veterans for outdoor therapy and rehabilitation treatments as they heal from the wounds of war.

“Arizona’s public lands offer unique recreational and therapeutic options and our military veterans should have full access to such opportunities,” said Sinema.

“The wild lands of the American West helped to heal my wounds and provided me with a new, stronger drive to thrive. Senator Sinema’s support for the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act shows me that my native state has my back,” said Evan Bogart, Former Staff Sergeant in the United States Army.

The bipartisan Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act establishes a task force, co-chaired by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of the Interior, to identify opportunities to expand access to public lands for the rehabilitation and therapy of veterans and to identify existing barriers that prevent veterans from utilizing outdoor recreation for medical treatment.

The bill is supported by the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and over 60 outdoor organizations.

Sinema has long been a champion for Arizona veterans and servicemembers. Two of Sinema’s bills focused on helping Arizona veterans were recently signed into law. Sinema’s LEGION Act, which extends American Legion membership to honorably discharged veterans since World War II, and her Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act, which safeguards veterans from predatory loan practices and helps them more easily access their earned homeowner benefits, became law this summer.

Sinema also recently secured her bipartisan Sgt. Daniel Somers Network of Support Act in the Senate-passed version of the defense bill, and the U.S. House included the legislation in its version of the bill earlier this month. The legislation was inspired by Sgt. Daniel Somers, an Arizona Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq and was diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD upon returning home. He lost his life to suicide in 2013. The bill requires that the Department of Defense work with the Red Cross to collect from new servicemembers the names of loved ones they consider to be their network of support. In return, the Department of Defense and Red Cross will provide the network of support information about the benefits and services available to military members.