“Today is about honoring a debt; a debt earned in blood and sacrifice,” Corbett said. “These bills are various in their goals. But they share the single purpose of repaying part of the debt we owe to those who have guarded our freedom and place their very lives between us and our enemies.’’
The ceremony was held this morning, nationally observed as Veterans Day, at the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Keystone Conference Center at Fort Indiantown Gap. Governor Corbett is himself a veteran, having served nearly 14 years in the National Guard.
Joining Corbett at the signing today were members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, including The Adjutant General Major General Wesley Craig, as well as representatives of several veterans’ groups, lawmakers, state and local leaders.
Legislation ceremonially signed today included:
• The Veterans Trust Fund, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker (RLuzerne),will provide for veterans’ programs. Financed through several sources, the fund will receive $1.7 million after the sale of Scotland School for Veterans Children, and continue to grow, providing help and assistance for veterans.
• “V” Designation on Driver License, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Pyle (RArmstrong), requires PennDOT to issue a driver’s license or ID card with a “V” for Veteran identifier at no additional cost, for persons who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. While participation is voluntary, it will allow veterans to qualify for discounts or other benefits.
• Pennsylvania Code of Military Justice, sponsored by Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Butler), substantially revises the code, enforcing order and discipline for members of the Pennsylvania National Guard who are not in active federal service. The code, which had not been updated since 1975, will give commanders more effective options in dealing with military offenses. The new code is based on a model already enacted in 14 other states and under consideration in 22 more states.
• Uniformed Military Overseas Voting Act, sponsored by Sen. Bob Robbins (R-Butler), simplifies and provides uniformity to the registration and absentee ballot process for uniformed service voters and overseas civilian voters for all elections within the state.
• Veteran-Owned Business Procurement Program, sponsored by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), encourages state agencies to contract with veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
• Establishes special license plates for World War II veterans of the U.S. Merchant Marine and for all veterans of U.S. Military Airborne Units, sponsored by Rep. John Bear (R-Lancaster). Prior to this legislation, special military license plates were available to Word War II veterans of all other military services except the Merchant Marine.
• Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission, sponsored by Rep. Marcia Hahn (R-Northampton), which provides training for all police officers in the state on recognizing and interacting with veterans and other individuals suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Pictured, Governor Tom Corbett ceremonially signs seven pieces of legislation that will benefit Pennsylvania's military veterans and the Pennsylvania National Guard, while Veterans, Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong) and the Pennsylvania Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig look on. Also pictured, McKean County native Mike Gould, first row standing, second from right.
PA Internet News Service photo