Severin’s Helping Paws Legislation Becomes Law

Marion…. On Friday, State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) joined Governor Bruce Rauner in Marion for the signing of House Bill 2897 into law. The new law, sponsored by Rep. Severin, amends the Unified Code of Corrections to allow the Helping Paws Service Dog Program to begin training service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.

“I am proud to have sponsored HB 2897, a law that will help veterans suffering from PTSD or depression,” Severin said. “I also want to thank Governor Rauner for signing the bill in Marion, where the Marion VA Hospital serves thousands of veterans from Southern Illinois and beyond.”

Severin noted that PTSD and depression are serious mental health issues affecting many veterans, and service dogs have proven to help them cope.
“This new law will help us keep our promise to provide top quality care for our veterans,” Severin said. “The program has had a positive impact for the Illinoisans it currently serves, so I’m proud that we’ll now be able to utilize it to benefit veterans suffering from PTSD and depression. I’m thankful to my colleagues in the House and Senate and the Governor for recognizing the importance of helping our veterans that are struggling from the mental scars of war.”

The Helping Paws Service Dog Program is administered by the Illinois Department of Corrections. HB 2897 received unanimous support in both the House and the Senate and is the first bill initiated by Representative Severin to be signed into law.