The following is a press release:
Veterans, says Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), have every reason in the world to be proud of their service to the nation.
Soon, they will be able to display the fact that they served honorably on ID cards and drivers’ licenses issued by the state.
The Senate today approved legislation, 2012-S 2161Aaa, directing the Division of Motor Vehicles to make available a veteran-status driver’s license or identification card to any honorably discharged service member who presents a Certificate of Release from Active Duty or other acceptable documentation of military service.
Felag said he introduced the legislation at the suggestion of a Tiverton constituent and also to add Rhode Island to a list of states, including Massachusetts, that provide a driver’s license for veterans.
“The veterans I know are not boastful people, but they are proud of the service they have given to our nation,” he said. “Acknowledging their military duty by adding a designation on a driver’s license or ID card may seem a small thing, but it is will be a constant reminder to all veterans who choose to obtain one that their state is aware of their sacrifice and grateful for it.”
The Felag bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. It calls for no additional cost (beyond the normal license renewal charge) for issuance of a license or ID with the veteran designation.
Felag said that pride and honor are only part of the reason to allow veterans to display their status.
“The specially designated licenses and IDs can provide a number of other benefits to veterans,” he said, such as providing important information to first responders in the case of a medical emergency, providing quick identification to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in regard to benefits the bearers are eligible to receive, and even giving veterans a convenient ID to use to take advantage of special discounts and incentives offered to former service members.
“This is a way to do something meaningful and helpful for our fellow citizens who did their duty and served their country with honor and great valor,” he said.