Veterans Courts: 2013 legislatures are both encouraging them and trying to give the executive control over them

I’ve been monitoring for the last several years legislative interest in veterans courts, and 2013 appears to bear out the continued interest in them. Many states already operate such courts through court rule or the calendar/docketing practices of individual judges, such as in Buffalo, New York where the a veterans court has operated for years.

What sets 2013’s bills apart is the shift in focus from establishment (such bills are still being introduced) to encouragement and control.

3 states (Kentucky HR 118, Oregon HCR 24, Washington State SB 5797) are considering bills or resolutions “encouraging” or “urging” veterans courts.

3 states (Oregon’s HB 3194 and HB 3195; Texas SB 462, South Carolina’s HB 3014) would transfer to or establish it is the executive branch, not the judiciary, that is to create veterans courts and/or set the rules for their operation.

Details and current status of the efforts below the fold.Alabama SB 162 Authorizes Chief Justice to create veterans courts. Approved by Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee 2/21/13.

Hawaii HB 308 Authorizes creation of pilot Temporary Hawaii Veterans and Active Duty Military Treatment Court. In House Veterans Committee.

Hawaii SB 314 Establishes a temporary Hawaii veterans court within the judiciary. In Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kentucky HR 118 Commends the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, for establishing a veterans’ court to provide support for veterans as they interact with the court system. On House floor.

Mississippi HB 969 Authorizes creation of veterans courts. Died in House Judiciary A Committee.

Mississippi SB 2635 Authorizes creation of veterans courts. Died in Senate Judiciary A Committee.

Mississippi SB 2638 Authorizes creation of Veterans Treatment Courts. Died in Senate Judiciary A Committee.

Missouri HB 73 Allows a circuit court to establish a veterans treatment court to dispose of a case stemming from substance abuse or mental illness of a current military member or a veteran. In House Veterans Committee.

Missouri HB 88 Allows a circuit court to establish a veterans treatment court to dispose of a case stemming from substance abuse or mental illness of a current military member or a veteran. In House (no committee).

Missouri HB 309 Establishes the Military Veterans and Servicemembers Court Program to provide treatment and intervention to veterans and servicemembers charged or convicted of certain crimes. In House Veterans Committee.

Missouri SB 118 Authorizes circuit courts or a combination of circuits to create veterans treatment courts. In Senate Judiciary Committee.

Nevada AB 84 Requires certain district courts to establish an appropriate program for the treatment of certain offenders who are veterans or members of the military. In Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Nevada AB 159  Requires creation of diversion program for nonviolent offenders who are veterans. In Assembly Judiciary Committee.

New Jersey AB 1804 Creates a Veterans Court Pilot Program in Burlington County. In Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

New York AB 3444 Authorizes establishment of a pilot program for courts for the treatment of veterans in the city of Utica and New York City. In Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Oregon HB 3194 Provides Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, after consulting with judiciary, to establish rules for specialty courts, including veterans courts. In House Public Safety Committee.

Oregon HB 3195 Provides Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, after consulting with judiciary, to establish rules specialty courts, including veterans courts. In House Public Safety Committee.

Oregon HCR 24 Expresses legislature’s support for creation of Veterans Treatment Court in all judicial districts. At Speaker’s desk.

South Carolina HB 3014 Requires creation of veterans treatment courts in each judicial circuit by the attorney general. In House Judiciary Committee.

Tennessee HJR 124 Urges establishment of Veterans Courts across Tennessee and urges the administrative office of the courts to pursue any and all available federal funding for such an initiative In House Civil Justice Committee.

Texas SB 462 Repeals and restructures state’s problem solving/specialty court programs. Prohibits such courts from operating unless they receive approval from governor’s criminal justice division. In Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Washington SB 5797 Encourages the establishment of effective specialty courts, including veterans courts. Approved by Senate Law & Justice Committee 2/22/13.