The United Veterans Legislative Council presented Assemblyman PK O’Neill with a certificate of appreciation in recognition of O’Neill’s service to Nevada veterans in the 78th legislative session.
“PK has been a stalwart in his support of veterans,” Kevin Burns, Coordinator of the Veterans Resource Center at Western Nevada College and a representative of the United Veterans Legislative Council, said. “When we thought we had lost legislative support on a bill, PK was able to resurrect the language and get substantial support for our veterans.”
The bill, AB294, “requires the Department of Health and Human Services to report information concerning the suicide mortality rate of veterans to the Interagency Council on Veterans Affairs, requiring certain providers of health care to receive training relating to suicide assessment, and providing other matters properly relating thereto,” according to the Nevada Legislature’s website.
“Education for medical personnel in Nevada is critical,” Burns said. “We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide in the U.S., but in Nevada, we lose one every third day.”
The United Veterans Legislative Council is an organization comprised of area veterans groups, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corps League, Fleet Reserve and the Purple Heart foundation.
Burns said long before O’Neill began his bid for the Assembly in 2014, he sat down with members of the group to explore issues facing veterans today.
“During the session, he showed the leadership required to make hard decisions,” Burns said. “We wanted to say thank you.”
O’Neill, who serves on the interim Committee on Senior Citizens, Veterans and Adults with Special Needs, the Committee on Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice and the Advisory Committee to Study Laws Concerning Sex Offender Registration between legislative sessions, said he was honored to receive the commendation from the veterans group.
“When I ran for office, I promised to approach lawmaking in the same way I was trained to approach law enforcement,” O’Neill said. “By listening to my constituents, reviewing all available information and basing my decisions on what was in the best interest to the people in my district and in the great state of Nevada, we were able to pass legislation that reflected what the people asked for. It was a privilege to support our veterans in this way.”