Walz on hand as measure to prevent veterans' suicides is signed into law


A Minnesota Congressman had a front row seat Thursday as a bill he wrote in hopes of reducing suicides among America's veterans was signed into law.

Congressman Tim Walz was at the White House as President Obama signed the Clay Hunt SAV Act.

Named for a Marine from Texas who took his own life in 2011, MPR News reports the law will have the Department of Veterans Affairs evaluate all of its suicide prevention practices to find out what's working and what's not.

MinnPost says other provisions in the law will offer incentives for psychiatrists to join the VA system and will better publicize the mental health care available to veterans.

The measure that Walz co-authored in July passed both the House and Senate unanimously. The First District Democrat tells MinnPost Congress can do more to improve mental health for veterans and he hopes the bipartisanship on that issue will continue.

The Associated Press says President Obama also cited the bipartisanship in his remarks Thursday, saying it's "...a reminder of what we can accomplish when we take a break from the partisan bickering that so often dominates this town.”

A VA study based on data from 2010 found that suicides are occurring among veterans at the rate of 22 per day.

Find the text of the new law here. Video of Walz's House floor speech in support of the bill is below.

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