PA 07-128—sHB 6948

Select Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING STOLEN MILITARY VALOR AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES

SUMMARY: This act (1) increases civil penalties and establishes criminal penalties for discriminating against armed forces members based on their membership or uniform, (2) increases the criminal fine for wearing a military uniform without authorization, and (3) makes it a crime to falsely represent oneself as a recipient of a Congressional or armed forces service medal or badge.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ARMED FORCES MEMBERS

By law, it is illegal to deprive armed forces members of any rights, privileges, or immunities usually enjoyed by the public because of their membership or because they are in uniform. Under prior law, any such member deprived of, or charged more for, the full and equal enjoyment of advantages, facilities, accommodations, amusement, or transportation based on these considerations was entitled to double damages. The act increases the award to up to $1,000 or triple damages, whichever is more, plus costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

It establishes a criminal penalty of $25 to $100, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both, for denying such members full and equal accommodation in any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement. The provision is subject to any conditions and limitations in law that apply to everyone.

UNAUTHORIZED WEARING OF MILITARY UNIFORM

The act increases the criminal fine for wearing, without authorization, the uniform of any member of the armed forces, reserves, or military or naval school or college. Under prior law, the penalty was a fine of $100 to $500, imprisonment for up to six months, or both. The act increases the minimum fine to $500 and the maximum to $1,000.

MILITARY AWARDS

The act makes it illegal to falsely represent oneself, orally or in writing, as a recipient of any Congressional decoration or medal; armed forces service medal or badge; or the ribbon, button, rosette, or “colorable imitation” of any such decoration, medal, or badge. A violation carries a fine of $500 to $1,000, imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

OLR Tracking: VR: GC: CR: RO