McNamara: Supporting our veterans

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Thursday, March 31, 2016

Over the course of my time as your state representative, I worked diligently to pass legislation supporting the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our country. Several bills made it through the process this session to benefit our Hoosier veterans.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1359, allows veterans to apply to become police officers and firefighters after they finish their careers in the military. Before this newly enacted policy, the maximum hiring age in Indiana for firefighters and police officers just entering the profession was 36 years old. This new law raises the maximum hiring age to 40 and a half years old. This legislation still tasks veterans with meeting certain requirements, such as physical agility tests and aptitude tests, in order to be eligible for positions. A major driver of this bill was the fact that many retiring service members become firefighters and police officers. If they enlisted at the lowest age possible, which is 18 years old, then qualify for retirement after 20 years of service, they would be 38 years old, which was past the maximum hiring age in the state. I am honored to support this new law recognizing that members of the military are trained much like public safety officers and can continue serving their communities.

We also worked to prevent people from fraudulently representing themselves as an active member of the military or a veteran. HEA 1187 makes “stolen valor,” or impersonating a veteran to acquire favor or free services, illegal. Under this law, if an individual claims to be an active service military member or veteran in order to receive money, property or other benefits that another person or business provides to active members or veterans, they would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

In our community, we have been fortunate to honor veterans across the state by hosting the Honor Flight of Southern Indiana. The Honor Flight Network is an organization created with the sole purpose of honoring America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. They transport our heroes to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at the memorials erected in their honor. There will be an upcoming flight April 16, and another Oct. 22. While the April flight is full, the network still needs applicants for the October flight. If you know of a veteran who would appreciate this trip, encourage them to fill out an application at www.honorflightsi.org.

Our veterans and their wellbeing is a priority. I am committed to supporting policies providing service members and their families the care they have rightfully earned. Please contact me at h76@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9816 with input and ideas on how to better serve our heroes.

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Rep. McNamara (R-Evansville) represents portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.