Harrisburg – June 23, 2016 – State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware), long-time sponsor and leading advocate of legislation to protect combat veterans from imposters who exaggerate their military service or “steal valor,” said today it was ironic that his legislation (Senate Bill 43) was itself pilfered and passed by the state House of Representatives earlier this week.
“There is incredible irony in having a bill that protects military veterans from having their valor stolen pilfered and passed by the state House,” Williams said. “My legislation cleared the Senate unanimously and has sat idle in the House while a nearly identical measure was pushed through that chamber more than a year after my bill was adopted by the Senate.”
Williams has been involved in the issue since 2011 when he introduced Senate Bill 1206 in response to a Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the federal stolen valor act. Williams reintroduced the legislation in successive sessions. His bill passed the Senate in April 2015.
The legislation that passed the House, House Bill 2050, was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on May 9, 2016 and passed the state House of Representatives just over a month later on June 21, 2016
“It is important that a bill to protect the valor of those in the military is signed into law, but it is puzzling why partisan politics was injected into a proposal that has strong bipartisan support,” Williams said. “This is another example of politics taking precedence.
“Sadly, there are too many endless delays on bills due to name or party affiliation when good ideas are non-partisan.”
The Senate moved Williams’ measure in 2015 largely in response to the experience of a 15-year-old York County resident who raised $10,000 for a veteran who exaggerated his service record to garner sympathy and monetary support. Other incidents of stolen valor have also been reported.
“Veterans should be recognized for their service and sacrifice,” Williams said. “They deserve to have their service and valor protected from imposters.”