NEWS: Legislation to Honor Veterans with Combat Bravery Award License Plates Passes House State Affairs Committee

Rep. Les Gara

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2015

Juneau – Today, the House State Affairs Committee passed House Bill 61.  The Legislation fixes a loophole in the law and honors those veterans who have demonstrated valor in combat while in the line of duty.  Current law leaves out license plate designations for a number of important "valor in combat" medals. 

"We should honor veterans who have risked their lives in combat,” said Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage).  “I want to thank Larry Gordaoff, the head of the Alaska Native Veterans Association, for bringing this loophole to our attention.  I want to especially thank the bi-partisan group of co-prime sponsors on this bill."

Under HB 61, the Silver and Bronze Star-V medals and Distinguished Crosses would be added to the list of military license plates.  The Medal of Honor is already recognized by the Division of Motor Vehicles.  These are the four highest awards for valor in combat. 

"We don’t want to spend legislative time with a stream of new license plate bills as the state faces pressing matters,” said Rep. Gara.  “We have written the bill to allow DMV, with no requirement of new legislation, to add any new medals honoring valor in combat when requested by a medal recipient without further legislative involvement.  We also want to thank Rep. Bob Herron for his help on this bill.”

The prime sponsors of HB 61 are Reps. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), Liz Vasquez (R-Anchorage), Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage), Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage), and Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage). 

“As Democrats and Republicans, the cosponsors all believe veterans should be honored for risking their lives to protect us,” said Rep. Gara.

HB 61 now moves to the Rules Chair, who schedules bills for a full vote on the Floor.

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