Assemblywoman Buttenschon: Expanding Veterans Treatment Courts Will Provide More Veterans with Vital Support

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) announced that she co-sponsored and passed a bill that supports New York’s veterans by expanding the number of veterans treatment courts across the state.

“As the daughter of a Korean War veteran, I understand that these brave men and women make immense sacrifices to keep us safe,” Buttenschon said. “When service members return home, we must ensure there are resources in place to help them transition and cope with their experiences. Expanding veterans treatment courts will provide even more veterans experiencing mental health issues with critical support in our criminal justice system and help them thrive.”

In 2008, the nation’s first veterans treatment court was established in New York in Buffalo, and there are now 35 of these specialty courts across the state.[1] Similar to drug treatment and mental health courts, veterans treatment courts provide veterans facing criminal prosecution who suffer from addiction or mental illness with access to community-based services and veterans’ agencies and connect them with peer mentors.[2] The legislation that Buttenschon co-sponsored increases the number of veterans treatment courts in New York State as well as authorizes transferring a criminal case against a veteran in a county without a veterans treatment court to an adjoining county that does (A.5719-A).

As a member of the Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Buttenschon has fought to expand support and resources for Mohawk Valley veterans. To further help these heroes, she has sponsored bills that would:

  • allow the spouse or child of active-duty service members who are stationed in New York and later reassigned to continue receiving in-state tuition rates from public colleges and universities (A.6249);
  • establish a toll-free crisis hotline to assist veterans (A.5832); and
  • authorizes issuing driver’s licenses or non-driver’s identification cards with a distinguishing mark indicating that the individual is a New York State Lifetime Liberty Pass holder (A.6372).