(By Delegates Fleischauer, Hutchins, Iaquinta, Longstreth, Caputo, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Thompson, Amores, Anderson, Argento, Ashley, Azinger, Barker, Beach, Blair, Boggs, Brown, Browning, Burdiss, Campbell, Cann, Canterbury, Craig, Crosier, DeLong, Doyle, Duke, Eldridge, Ellem, Ellis, Ennis, Evans, Fragale, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hartman, Hatfield, Hrutkay, Ireland, Kessler, Klempa, Kominar, Lane, Long, Mahan, Manchin, Marshall, Martin, Michael, Miley, C. Miller, J. Miller, Moore, Moye, Overington, Palumbo, Paxton, Perdue, Perry, Pethtel, Pino, D. Poling, M. Poling, Proudfoot, Reynolds, Rodighiero, Romine, Rowan, Schadler, Shaver, Shook, Sobonya, Spencer, Staggers, Stalnaker, Stemple, Stephens, Sumner, Tabb, Talbott, Tansill, Varner, Walters, Webster, Wells, White, Williams and Wysong)

Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to make a study of the needs of soldiers and veterans who have been injured in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars for the purpose of making recommendations on how the state of West Virginia can assist in getting them the care they deserve.

WHEREAS, the state of West Virginia values the sacrifices of its soldiers and veterans and their extraordinary commitment to the preservation of our liberties in these very dangerous times;and
WHEREAS, at least twenty-five West Virginians have died in the Iraq/Afghanistan war and at least one hundred thirty-five have been seriously wounded; and
WHEREAS, our state has one of the largest number of active duty soldiers and injured soldiers based upon our population; and
WHEREAS, many soldiers who would have died in past wars have been saved by excellent medical care in the field and at military hospitals, but many who have been saved have lifetime, severe, and, sometimes, permanent injuries; and
WHEREAS, the prevalence of injuries from improvised explosive devices has resulted in many soldiers who return to our country suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and neurological damage; and
WHEREAS, media stores have revealed that many of our injured soldiers, after hospital treatment, have been housed in substandard facilities, with mold, insects and vermin; and
WHEREAS, it has also been disclosed that many with brain injuries have had to fight incredible battles upon their return home with the bureaucracy, because of lost records, inordinately high standards to obtain needed benefits and long-term care, etc.; and
WHEREAS, some injured soldiers have gotten lost in the bureaucracy for more than a year;
WHEREAS, even with family members moving to Washington, D.C. to care for them, some injured soldiers have been unable to maneuver their way through the bureaucracy; and
WHEREAS, our federal and state officials have had great difficulty ascertaining the exact numbers, status and locations of our injured soldiers; and
WHEREAS, there are four Veterans Hospitals in the state of West Virginia, many public and private hospitals and rehabilitation centers capable of offering our injured soldiers the care they need, closer to their families, friends and support networks; and
WHEREAS, West Virginia has a network of Veterans Assistance Centers, field offices and volunteer organizations which could be enlisted to provide assistance to our injured soldiers and veterans; and
WHEREAS, it is important for injured soldiers to be sure that they receive the income and benefits they need for the long-term, which may depend upon their status as a member of the military or a veteran; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to review, examine and study the status of the growing number of soldiers from West Virginia injured in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Division of Veterans Affairs, our Congressional Delegation and the State National Guard be enlisted to study and make recommendations on how the State of West Virginia can assist in ensuring that our injured soldiers get the care they need and that their rights, benefits and dignity are protected; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the findings and recommendations resulting from the study be presented and reported to the Joint Committee as soon as possible, and on a periodic basis as determinations are made regarding findings and recommendations, together with the drafts of any proposed legislation and funding estimates that may be necessary to effectuate such recommendations, in the event that such recommendations could be adopted during a special session; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the West Virginia State Legislature notify Washington, D.C., the President of the United States, the President of the Senate of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States and the appropriate United States Representatives of the State of West Virginia of this action by forwarding to each of them a certified copy of this concurrent resolution adopted by the West Virginia Legislature; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2008, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.