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Ernst Strives to Protest Legal Rights of Servicemembers and Their Family Members

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a combat veteran, is helping lead a bipartisan effort to protect the rights and legal interests of servicemembers and their families by permanently establishing the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative (SVI) within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“As a company commander who served over 23 years in military uniform, caring for our servicemembers, veterans, and military families is one of my top priorities in the Senate. This bipartisan bill will ensure the Department of Justice continues their work to protect their rights and legal interests during and long after their military careers,” said Senator Ernst.

The SVI was created by the DOJ in 2015 to expand the Department’s efforts to enforce the statutes created to protect the rights and legal interests of the men and women serving in the armed forces and their families.

The Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020, which was originally introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), supports the critical work of the existing SVI by updating and formalizing the SVI’s mandate. The bill specifies that the SVI:

  • Serves as a legal and policy advisor to the Attorney General on enforcing federal laws that protect servicemembers and veterans
  • Serves as the liaison between DOJ and the military departments
  • Serves as a liaison with the Criminal Division to coordinate the prosecution of fraud that targets servicemembers and their families

This bill has been endorsed by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans Education Success, and Student Veterans of America.


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