Sainato cheers passage of measures that honor veterans

HARRISBURG, March 22 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, applauded the unanimous passage Tuesday of two bills: one that would honor women veterans and another that would ensure more existing monuments that recognize military service are well kept.

Through H.B. 215, which Sainato co-sponsored, passenger car and truck owners would be able to honor women veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces by purchasing a special license plate. The special plate would have a fee of $35, of which $15 would be directed to the Veterans’ Trust Fund for programs and resources that assist women veterans.

“As chairman of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I’m pleased to see that my colleagues in the House agreed that we should recognize the significant contributions of women in our Armed Forces,” Sainato said. “With this bill, we not only honor their hard work and sacrifice, but designate funding to help them as well.”

The bill would also create special plates for recipients of the Legion of Merit, which would be available for a $20 fee.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation offers 39 other military license plates, including plates that honor veterans of the various branches of military and those who served in Vietnam, Korea, World War II or the Persian Gulf.

The House also unanimously passed H.B. 247, which would enhance a fund to preserve all memorials and monuments honoring Pennsylvania’s military veterans.

The bill, for which Sainato was prime sponsor, would change the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial Trust Fund to the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund, to be administered by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Currently, the existing fund is used for operation and maintenance of the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial on the grounds of Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. Under the changes in H.B. 247, the fund would expand to cover more monuments and memorials devoted to Pennsylvania veterans and military units, including those at Gettysburg National Military Park, overseas monuments owned by the Commonwealth and others as designated.

The department would consult with the State Veterans’ Commission in granting the funds.

“This legislation would help ensure that we take good care of all of the monuments that honor our military members’ service,” Sainato said.

Both bills have been sent to the Senate for consideration.