2011 Legislative Preview: HB 1014

49

See here for previous posts in this series.

Bill Name: AN ACT TO HONOR VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES BY ALLOWING VETERAN STATUS DESIGNATION ON ARKANSAS DRIVER’S LICENSES AND IDENTIFICATION CARDS

Sponsor: John Edwards (D-38), 501-378-5500, jcedwardslaw@aol.com.

Purpose: Known as the “Nick Bacon Remembrance Act,” this bill would allow Arkansas veterans to receive a new driver’s license that included a “Veteran” designation thereon by providing a U.S. Dept. of Defense discharge document, DD Form 214, showing an honorable or “general under honorable conditions” discharge and by paying a fee.

Pros for Average Arkansans: This bill would allow veterans who did not serve long enough to qualify for a military retiree card to have proof of service, and, because there are so many more DFA offices than there are VA offices where a veteran could get a VA card, it would make obtaining an official proof of service easier in that regard as well. (Additionally, from what I hear, because it can be a pain to get a VA card, veterans who do not have the proper classification for health benefits under the VA often do not even bother getting the card, so this bill would provide an alternate source of proof for those veterans.)

Cons for Average Arkansans: Almost none, aside from minimal state cost. The state is already in the process of a redesign of the driver’s licenses for everyone, and Rep. Edwards has said that he has already spoken with DFA about reserving space for this designation, so no redesign would be required. The bill also allows DFA the flexibility to determine where to place the designation on the card.

Official BHR Position: Strongly support.