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Bill would eliminate state Veteran ID cards in Virginia

Virginia is one of the few states with a separate identification card for veterans and each costs $10.

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS SERVICES

By JORDAN PASCALE | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: February 6, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. (Tribune News Service) — Vets may soon be able to keep a thinner wallet.

A state delegate has proposed ditching a state-issued Veteran ID Card in lieu of a veteran designation on a driver’s license.

Veterans could get the designation for no extra cost. Virginia is one of the few states remaining with a separate ID for veterans and each costs $10.

Many states offer designations on licenses and Del. John McGuire, R-Hanover, a Navy SEAL veteran himself, thought it was about time Virginia did the same.

“This affects a million veterans in Virginia,” McGuire said. “This makes it cheaper, simpler and easier for veterans.”

McGuire said it was a frequent request heard while knocking on doors as a candidate.

Veterans use the ID cards to show proof of service when they apply for jobs, use the VA hospital and get discounts at restaurants and retail stores.

McGuire said it could also provide context for police who may pull a veteran over.

“A lot of veterans have PTSD and may be acting out of sorts,” McGuire said. “The veteran designation would help give context to officers and maybe help de-escalate the situation and provide a little more understanding.”

Without ID cards or a driver’s license designation, vets have to carry their discharge papers.

Pennsylvania puts a flag and “Veteran” on their licenses. The Virginia DMV would choose how to designate it on the license, if it passed. It could appear similar to how an organ donor designation looks.

HB737 passed the House on Monday and will be become law if the Senate approves and the governor signs the bill.

Nearly every member of the House has signed on as a co-patron of the bill, a rare event that McGuire says points to the bipartisan, common- sense nature of the bill.

There are several forms of veteran ID, including from the Veterans hospital, the Department of Defense and from states.

©2018 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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