The full Senate approved a measure by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and Rep. James Leewright that is aimed at ending the practice of “stolen valor.” The bill was approved Tuesday 44 to 2.
House Bill 2450, by Bingman and Leewright, increases the fine for an act of “stolen valor,” which involves impersonating a member of the Armed Forces by wearing any decoration or medals awarded to members of the Armed Forces. The fine would be increased from $100 to $1,000 under HB 2450.
“‘Stolen valor’ is a serious offense and is demeaning to those who have served and those who are serving in the military. Increasing the fine for impersonating a veteran should discourage anyone from engaging in this despicable practice. This measure helps protect the integrity and honor that comes with serving in our nation’s Armed Forces. We value that service, our veterans and their families and this measure is one way we can express our gratitude to them,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa.
The Senate leader noted it was just a week ago that lawmakers met in a special joint session to honor the 45th Infantry and the Oklahoma National Guard.
“Medals were awarded to men and women who exemplify the courage, dedication, patriotism and professionalism that is a hallmark of those who wear a uniform,” Bingman said. “Those who fraudulently display those medals and decorations will face even stronger penalties once this legislation becomes law.”
Leewright thanked the Senate for their support of the measure.
“It’s incredibly important that we protect the legacy of our veterans from misuse. I appreciate the bipartisan support this bill has received and look forward to it being signed into law,” said Leewright, R-Bristow.
The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.