Freshman Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced his first legislative initiative on Monday -- a bill to provide service dogs to wounded veterans.
Franken wrote an op-ed in the Star Tribune on Saturday describing how an encounter with an Iraq veteran and his service dog, Tuesday, inspired the bill.
Service dogs are of "immense benefit to vets suffering from physical and emotional wounds," the newly-seated senator said, and they could even "reduce the alarming suicide rate among veterans."
Franken wrote that it costs about "$20,000 to train a service dog and another $5,000 to place the dog with the veteran." The bill he proposes would make that price more affordable for veterans themselves.
"Frankly, I believe it is enough simply to improve the lives of those of whom we asked so much," he explained. "But this program isn't just the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. This is win, win, win, win."