Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed legislation that will help prevent individuals who have never served in the military from dishonoring the service of veterans and veteran small business owners.
Senate Bill 60, authored by District 36 Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, cracks down on individuals or entities posing as veterans or veteran-owned businesses to receive special benefits or privileges afforded to veterans.
“We have various programs available for veterans to help them when they return (from war),” Adley said. “Some people have tried to impersonate being a veteran to get those benefits.”
Adley’s bill claims the punishment will be a fine up to $1,000 or six months in jail or both.
Adley said he was asked by the governor to work specificallly on this bill.
“Our veterans have served on the frontlines in defense of our freedom, and they have earned certain benefits and services that are afforded to them in recognition of their service,” Jindal said. “There is absolutely no reason – financial or otherwise – that any individual or entity should dishonor the sacrifices our brave service men and women have made. Those who do should and will be held accountable.”
Currently, the federal government, states and many private sector companies administer programs that give preference to doing business with veteran-owned businesses.
This legislation will protect veteran-owned businesses from fraudulent competition by criminalizing the impersonation of a veteran or disabled veteran-owned company as a misdemeanor. Deterring fraudulent impersonation will prevent the state from designating preferential status for contracts to non-veteran-owned businesses, saving valuable taxpayer dollars.
Additionally, the bill will also protect individual veterans by prohibiting imposters intending to fraudulently secure any special privilege or advantage from posing as veterans.
SB 60 passed the Senate and the House unanimously.