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Sen. Jackson Named Legislator of the Year by American Legion

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, has been named a 2014 Leo P. Burke Legislator of the Year by the American Legion, Department of California, for her work authoring a bill to ensure that eligible veterans going through the justice system are steered to Veterans Treatment Courts.

Jackson was chosen for the designation for her “leadership, support and dedication to the veterans and service members of California.”

“California’s veterans are fortunate that Sen. Jackson leveraged her expertise as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and took on a complicated issue that will help our justice-involved veterans get the treatment they deserve and that they earned as a result of their service,” said Don Harper, chair of the American Legion’s Legislative Commission.

Jackson’s SB 1110, which was signed into law by the governor and will take effect Jan. 1, will require that courts inform defendants at arraignment, the first stage in the court process, that if they have served or are serving in the military, and if they have not committed serious crimes, they may be eligible for rigorous treatment programs to address substance abuse issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma and other conditions resulting from their time in combat.

California currently has Veterans Treatment Courts in 20 counties, including Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. These special courts combine highly demanding treatment programs and accountability with the goal of breaking the cycle of criminal behavior and having the defendant re-enter the community with the skills to be a law-abiding citizen.

Jackson also authored Senate Concurrent Resolution 27, which designates portions of Highway 101 in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties for inclusion in the National Purple Heart Trail.

The American Legion is an organization of veterans who served in wartime. Its California chapter has over 135,000 members and represents the interests of California’s 2.1 million veterans and their families.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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