Sacramento, CA – Assembly Bill 1637 by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) and Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica) passed the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee with bipartisan support. This bill would allow California veterans to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a “Veteran” designation on their driver’s license or identification card.
“California is home to nearly two million veterans, yet nearly half of that population remains unaccounted for,” said Assemblymember Frazier. “Not only will this bill simplify the lives of already identified veterans, it will also assist County Veteran Service Officers in outreach efforts to recognize those who are not obtaining the benefits they have rightfully earned as a result of their service.”
Allowing an individual to apply for a driver’s license with a “Veteran” designation will allow them to quickly and easily identify themselves as a veteran. AB 1637 would also create the opportunity for a veteran to access the services and benefits they are entitled to without dealing with the impracticality of carrying around a DD-214, which contains sensitive personal information.
“This bill will provide us with an important tool for improving access to resources, benefits, and services for those who have served our country,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “This is a simple solution to a real problem. I am pleased to support Assemblymember Frazier in this effort to help our veterans.”
Both law enforcement and medical professionals assert that a “Veteran” designation would be helpful when treating veterans in emergency situations. The indicator would allow professional entities to identify the individual as a veteran, therefore ensuring that they are well informed when treating a veteran who may be suffering from medical trauma, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as a result of their service.
“This will be one of the most significant veteran bills ever passed by the State Legislature,” said Pete Conaty, retired Army veteran and advocate for over 20 veterans groups. “AB 1637 will result in a 20% increase of California veterans who may apply for federal benefits that they may not have known they were eligible for. All of the veterans groups I represent sincerely appreciate the efforts of Assemblymember Frazier and Assemblymember Bloom, and we will continue to be strong advocates for the passage of this bill.”
AB 1637 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. To contact Assemblymember Jim Frazier, or receive updates on AB 1637, please visit his website at http://www.asmdc.org/members/a11/.