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AB-1470 Ending Military Suicide Task Force.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/08/2021 09:00 PM

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 08, 2021


Assembly Bill
No. 1470

Introduced by Assembly Member Mathis

February 19, 2021

An act to add Section 131321 to the Health and Safety Code, relating to suicide.


AB 1470, as amended, Mathis. Ending Military Suicide Task Force.
Existing law, the California Suicide Prevention Act of 2000, allows the State Department of Health Care Services, contingent upon appropriation, to establish and implement a suicide prevention, education, and gatekeeper training program to reduce the severity, duration, and incidence of suicidal behaviors. Existing law authorizes the State Department of Public Health to establish the Office of Suicide Prevention to, among other things, convene experts and stakeholders, including, but not limited to, stakeholders representing populations with high rates of suicide, to encourage collaboration and coordination of resources for suicide prevention.
This bill would require the department to establish an Ending Military Suicide Task Force to systematically reduce military suicides and to develop a plan to eliminate all military suicides in the state, as specified. Commencing June 1, 2023, the bill would require the task force to submit a specified report to the Governor and the Legislature on the state of veteran suicide prevention, as specified, including, among other things, an analysis of the plans, activities, strategies, and programs undertaken pursuant to the task force’s recommendations and their effects on reducing military suicides in the state.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) In 2018, there were 541 service members across the military’s active and reserve components who died by suicide.
(b) Within the active component the suicide rate was 24.8 suicides per 100,000 personnel, in the service reserves the suicide rate was 22.9 per 100,000 personnel, and in the California National Guard the rate was 30.6 per 100,000 personnel.

SEC. 2.

 Section 131321 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

 (a) The department shall establish the Ending Military Suicide Task Force to systematically reduce, on an annual basis, military suicides and to provide a plan by June 1, 2023, for the elimination of all military suicides in the state by January 1, 2029. January 1, 2027. The task force shall recommend comprehensive strategies aimed at addressing suicide among military members in California and shall recommend ways to establish and execute plans and programs to implement those strategies.
(b) The task force shall consist of all of the following:
(1) Stakeholders from the Military Department’s mental health, chaplaincy, and other programs tasked with morale and welfare.
(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall provide one representative.
(3) The department shall invite representatives from the United States Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and the National Guard Association of California to participate and be members of the task force.
(4) The department shall invite other veterans service organizations, state and local mental health officials, and researchers with relevant subject matter expertise.
(c) The department shall support the task force and ensure the task force is able to carry out its duties. The department may use its existing resources to absorb the task force’s costs in implementing this subdivision. The department may accept and expend funds from nongovernmental sources for its work with the task force.
(d) (1) The department shall submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature by June 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, that includes all of the following:
(A) An analysis of the plans, activities, strategies, and programs undertaken pursuant to the task force’s recommendations and their effects on reducing military suicides in the state. This part of the report shall include a specific set of near-, intermediate-, and long-term benchmarks that can be used to measure the state’s progress toward the goal of eliminating military suicides by January 1, 2027.
(B) A survey and analysis of existing programs currently available from federal, state, and local governmental and nongovernmental agencies that deal with suicide, military suicide, and veteran suicide.
(C) An analysis of the success achieved by each program that can lead to recommendations from the task force on how California can eliminate the military suicide problem.
(D) An analysis of the factors of alienation, strained relationships, finances, family disruptions, and career challenges associated with suicidal ideation and how to provide services to address those factors as experienced by military members and California National Guard members who live in geographically diverse areas that are far from military bases and mental health care facilities.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.