(BOSTON) – Representative John H. Rogers (D-Norwood) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass multiple bills to protect the identities and legacies of active-duty military personnel and veterans. These bills build upon existing legislation to expand opportunities and services for military personnel, veterans and their families.
The Stolen Valor Act criminalizes falsely representing oneself as military personnel, a veteran or a recipient of specific military honors in order to receive money, property or a tangible benefit. This crime would be punishable by a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment of not more than one year.
“The bills passed today address problems that many people may not be aware of, but deserve to be addressed, especially as we prepare to celebrate Veterans Day” said Representative Rogers (D-Norwood) a longtime veterans service advocate.
The bills now move to the Senate, where Norwood’s Senator, Mike Rush (D-West Roxbury) a veteran himself, chairs the Joint Committee on Veterans & Federal Affairs.
“I commend Rep. Rogers and his colleagues in the House for addressing these issues that are important to our veterans,” said Senator Mike Rush. “We are planning on scheduling these bills in the Senate to coincide with Veterans Day to make sure Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in providing benefits and services to those who have served and are serving.”
Under legislation passed today in the House, Purple Heart recipients would have free access to state parks, forests and reservations. The House also passed bills related to stealing, damaging or desecrating veterans’ graves and inappropriately removing a commemorative American flag representing service the military, police or fire departments.
Norwood Veterans’ Service Officer Teddy Mulvehill was very pleased with the legislation, saying “Those of us in the Veterans’ community offer a heartfelt thanks to Representative Rogers and Senator Rush for their leadership in this important legislation. Indeed, the entire Great and General Court is to be commended for their support and recognition of Massachusetts’ veterans. They have shown us, and America, that they care.”