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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: April 16, 2013 12:45 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Protecting the Integrity of the Medal of Honor
I will soon introduce legislation to protect the Medal of Honor against its diminution by those who falsely claim to be recipients of our nation’s highest military honor.

The U.S. Congress sought to address this problem through passage of the Stolen Valor Act in 2006. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 struck down the law on free speech grounds. I feel the decision did not pay proper respect to our military heroes.

In their majority decision, the justices wrote, “There is, however, at least one less speech-restrictive means by which the Government could likely protect the integrity of the military awards system. A government-created database could list Congressional Medal of Honor winners. Were a database accessible through the Internet, it would be easy to verify and expose false claims.”

My bill takes up the justices on their words by having the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs create a database of Medal of Honor recipients. Mindful also of the many other military awards bestowed upon our veterans and the need to protect their integrity, my bill will have the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs study the feasibility of creating a database of all military awards and decorations of heroism bestowed by our nation’s military.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is in a unique position to lead the nation in protecting the integrity of the Medal of Honor. The Commonwealth is home to the Medal of Honor Grove in Schuylkill Township, Chester County. Our nation’s oldest memorial site dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients was created through the work of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gen. Omar Bradley and others, and dedicated in 1964.

I plan to introduce this legislation on Monday, April 22. I hope you join me in co-sponsoring it.

Introduced as SB886