Bipartisan legislation sponsored on the Democratic side by Assembly members Cleopatra Tucker and Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D. to provide veterans with a readily available and easily accessible method of proving their veteran status was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday by a vote of 9-0.
“This is just one little way to make life a bit easier for veterans,” said Tucker (D-Essex), Chair of the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “Many businesses offer discounts or promotional programs for those who have served our country and this would help them easily prove their status whenever they’re out and about.”
The bill (A-691) would require driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to indicate the licensee’s or applicant’s veteran status upon request. The bill would apply to any person who has been honorably discharged from the active military service of the United States and would provide them with a convenient way to show proof of their veteran status on a daily basis.
“A number of states are already doing this to help veteran’s easily prove their status when necessary,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “The enormity of their sacrifices can never be repaid by tokens like this, but we can at least make life a little easier for them whenever possible.”
At least 11 States have passed laws that utilize driver’s licenses to indicate veterans’ status.
However, the bill specifies that the designation of veteran status on a driver’s license or identification card shall not be deemed sufficient valid proof of veteran status for official governmental purposes when any other statute, or any regulation or other directive of a governmental entity requires documentation of veteran status.
The bill was sent to the Appropriations Committee for a fiscal note because minor changes would need to be made to the Motor Vehicle Commission’s computer system, but those changes can largely be completed by in-house staff at minimal cost.
The measure now awaits consideration by the full Assembly. The bill would be effective 18 months following enactment.