BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Friday that he'll ask lawmakers to create a specialized court program to treat military veterans convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.
The program would be modeled after the state's drug court program, which diverts people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes to substance abuse treatment with probation supervision, rather than prison. Successful completion of the program ends with the crime expunged from a person's record.
Jindal said veterans have specialized circumstances and should have their own treatment programs, which would also assist with mental health illnesses, job training and housing aid.
The bill will be sponsored by Sen. Elbert Guillory, R-Opelousas, for consideration in the legislative session that begins March 10.
"We must remember that these veterans served our country with honor. By establishing Veteran's Treatment Court Programs, this legislation ensures that we honor their service," Guillory said in a statement.
Jindal also said he will push a proposal by Rep. Nick Lorusso, R-New Orleans, to expand residential lease protections for members of the military, to make it easier for them and their spouses to terminate home and apartment leases.
His third veterans-related measure, to be sponsored by Sen. John Smith, R-Leesville, would establish a voluntary registry for veterans exposed to open-air burn pits during wartime, to help them access treatment for any health conditions tied to the exposure.
Louisiana Legislature: www.legis.la.gov