It’s not the type of legislation that gets a lot of notoriety, but it’s important to our veterans and could become an uptick for local economies.
Last week Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a bill allowing the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to place a distinguishing mark on a driver’s license, or non-driver ID, to indicate its holder is a veteran.
Under this law, a veteran of the U.S. armed forces may request to have this veteran status mark from the DMV.
Many businesses across the state currently provide discounts to veterans. This law will make it more simple and convenient for veterans to show and verify to a business their status as veterans on a driver’s license or non-driver ID without having to carry multiple forms of identification.
In order to obtain this status from the DMV, applicants will have to submit proof that they were honorably discharged from the armed forces.
The law takes effect in one year.
These men and women have made invaluable sacrifices for our state and nation throughout our history, and now that they have returned home, government will work for them.
That’s a far cry from the 1960s and ‘70s when Vietnam war veterans were ignored, spat upon and got nothing from their government during the unpopular conflict.
In the meantime, DMV will revise its application forms and make other accommodations to handle requests for a status mark. Additionally, the review of documents supporting an honorable discharge from the armed forces will be an added task for DMV staff during the license-renewal process, and license renewals for those requesting a mark will be processed manually. Currently, routine renewals are processed automatically.
Perhaps during this process more retail stores, restaurants, car dealers and the like will show their appreciation for our veterans by offering discounts to them, many who put their lives on hold and on the line to serve the military, whether they’d been drafted or volunteered for duty.
One of the largest problems this state faces in providing services and benefits to veterans, like other states, is actually being able to identify them, especially returning veterans. This will now give veterans the option of indicating their service on their driver’s licenses.
And once identified, the state can pro-actively communicate with veterans to connect them to the hundreds of services and benefits available to them.
It seems to us like a win-win situation for both veterans and local business people.