(NASHVILLE) – The first piece of legislation for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly was filed today by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown).
Senate Bill 1 (PLACE LINK WHEN FILED), seeks to establish a statewide “Green Alert” system that would provide rapid dissemination of information to help quickly identify and locate a missing veteran or active member of the armed forces, national guard or military reserves who is at risk.
“In the field when a soldier goes missing, a search and rescue team will be sent to find to find the missing soldier. Similarly, at home when an at-risk veteran goes missing, it should be our duty to assist with the search,” said Senator Kelsey. “It is the least we can do to help care for these veterans who have sacrificed so much in order to defend our country.”
The Green Alert would work like other public notification systems such as an Amber Alert or Blue Alert. Under the legislation, a state-wide notification would be issued if a veteran is at risk or missing due to a physical or mental health condition related to his or her service.
Kelsey said the idea for this legislation was brought to him by a constituent who is also a veteran. Wisconsin passed a similar law earlier this year inspired by the death of a U.S. Air Force Reserve Sergeant who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. It took eight days before the required criteria could be met to list him as a critical missing person. His body was found 18 days later.
“There is a critical 24-hour time period to locate missing persons, and this legislation seeks to avoid any tragedies by bringing communities together to help missing veterans at risk quickly find safety. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature, law enforcement, and veterans this session to pass this legislation,” added Kelsey.