OLR Bill Analysis

SB 371 (File 366, as amended by Senate “A” and “B”)*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE INDICATION OF A PERSON'S STATUS AS A VETERAN ON A MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE AND IDENTITY CARD.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) commissioner to include a person's status as a veteran, if applicable, on his or her state driver's license or identity card. The person must submit a request to have this status included to the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA), which must verify the status to the DMV commissioner.

The bill also extends a free lifetime pass for state parks, forests, and recreational facilities to any resident who is a disabled wartime veteran, as defined under state or federal law. Under current law, a resident who is age 65 or older may apply for such a pass, which allows free parking, admission, and boat access parking. The pass (1) does not apply to any park, forest, or facility that a private concessionaire manages wholly managed and (2) may not apply to payments required for special events.

*Senate Amendment “A” requires DVA to verify a veteran's status instead of DMV; specifies when DMV includes such status on a license or identity card; eliminates provisions requiring the card to differentiate between wartime and standard veterans status; and makes the license and identity card provision effective January 1, 2013, instead of October 1, 2011.

*Senate Amendment “B” adds the free pass for state parks, forests and recreational facilities provision.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2013; except for the free state park, forest, and recreation pass provision, which is effective upon passage.

VETERAN INDICATION ON LICENSE OR IDENTIFICATION CARD

Under the bill, a veteran may submit a request to DVA to have this status included on his or her license or identity card. The DVA must, no later than 30 days after receiving the request, verify that the requestor is a veteran.

If DVA verifies that the requestor is a veteran (e. g. , through DD Form 214 or similar forms), DVA must inform the DMV commissioner of the person's request and its verification. DMV must then indicate the person's veteran status on any license or identification card when originally issued, renewed, or issued as a duplicate.

The bill specifies that “veteran” means an individual honorably discharged or released under honorable conditions from active service in the U. S. armed forces.

DISABLED VETERAN

Under the bill, to receive a free state park, forest, or recreational facility pass a disabled veteran must meet the criteria set in state or federal law. Under state law, a “disabled veteran” is any wartime veteran with any of the following Veterans' Administration certified service-connected disabilities: blindness, traumatic brain injury, paraplegia or hemiplegia, or loss of the use of both arms or legs or these body parts through amputation (CGS 14-254).

Under federal law, “disabled veteran” generally means an individual who has (1) served on active duty in the armed forces, (2) been separated under honorable conditions, and (3) a service-connected disability or is receiving certain Veterans' Affairs or military department administered benefits (5 USC 2108).

BACKGROUND

Under state law, “service in time of war” means at least 90 days active service in the U. S. armed forces during a statutorily defined period of war, unless the veteran was separated earlier because of a U. S. Veterans' Administration-rated service-connected disability or because the war lasted less than 90 days.

By law, “armed forces” means the U. S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force and any of their reserve components, including the Connecticut National Guard when under federal service.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Select Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Joint Favorable Change of Reference

Yea

10

Nay

0

(03/08/2011)

Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

36

Nay

0

(03/18/2011)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

53

Nay

0

(05/09/2011)