Bill makes it easier to recognize military service, valor

Staff reports

COLUMBUS — Legislation making its way from the state House and Senate will, when signed by the governor, make it easier to issue license plates recognizing military service and military honors pertaining to valor and service.

Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) announced that the Ohio House concurred on Senate changes to House Bill 194, legislation that creates an automatic process for designing and approving military license plates.

House Bill 194 will require the director of veterans services and the registrar of motor vehicles to develop and maintain a program to establish and issue nonstandard license plates that recognize military service and military honors pertaining to valor and service. The director and registrar are to adopt rules to establish the program, including eligibility criteria, guidelines for design and documentation requirements.

Ohio has nearly 50 different license plates and 22 separate revised code sections related to military service. Military badges can change in name and design, resulting in out-of-date license plates. Additionally, as service men and women return from recent foreign conflicts, they are unable to get a license plate recognizing their service if their operation’s specialty license plate is not created in code via the legislative process.

“This bill is a salute to all who have served in the military of our great nation, and improves on Ohio’s well-established practice of recognizing military service through our license plate program,” Johnson said. “My thanks goes out to all who assisted me in this endeavor, especially my joint sponsor, Representative Herschel Craig, who is himself a veteran of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. We may be of opposite political parties, but we are delighted to work together on worthy projects such as this. We are two Army veterans who are very, very proud to be Americans.”

Senate changes to the bill included modifications to the Veterans Memorial and Museum, currently under construction in downtown Columbus, due to its national attention. The bill establishes the National Veterans Advisory Committee and constitutes that committee in such a way that encourages greater philanthropic support of the memorial in the future.

House Bill 194, jointly sponsored by Johnson and Craig (D-Columbus), now goes to the governor for his consideration.

Staff reports