Stolen Valor Act unanimously passes Pennsylvania House
By J.D. PROSE | Beaver County Times, Pa. | Published: June 23, 2016
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Tribune News Service) — State Rep. Rick Saccone’s bill to make it a misdemeanor for anyone to benefit from lying about military service or receiving decorations or medals unanimously passed the state House on Tuesday.
"We don't want people to soil the reputation of legitimate veterans by claiming the status of veteran illegitimately," Saccone said on Wednesday.
Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township, introduced House Bill 2050, also known as the Stolen Valor Act, on May 9 and saw it pass the House Judiciary Committee in a 25-1 vote June 14.
The bill would make it a third-degree misdemeanor for someone to falsely claim military service or honors in order to obtain money, property or other benefits. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Saccone, an Air Force veteran, has called the impersonation of veterans “despicable” and “terribly disrespectful.”
On Wednesday, he recalled several cases across Pennsylvania in which those claiming to be veterans or having medals collected money.
"This is a way to help hold those people accountable," Saccone said.
Three years ago, Congress passed the federal Stolen Valor Act, which addressed cases in which people lie about having military decorations and medals, such as the Congressional Medal of Honor or Purple Heart, in order to obtain benefits.
Anyone convicted of violating the federal law can face fines and up to a year in jail.
State Rep. Jim Marshall, R-14, Big Beaver, is a co-sponsor on Saccone’s legislation.