Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R – Monrovia) announced that the House will hold a “Military and Veterans Day” in the chamber on Tuesday, January 16, with a work calendar that is stacked with bills designed to benefit those who have served or are currently serving in our nation’s armed forces.
Alabama’s living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for heroism, will also be honored and in attendance.
“Alabamians are a proud and patriotic people, and our state’s military tradition runs deep in our history, so it is proper that we recognize those who served and fought for our country,” McCutcheon said. “By passing this good, needed, and commonsense legislation and thanking the men and women who have worn uniforms in our nation’s defense, we can give something back to those who have give so much to us.”
Among the bills on the House agenda are:
The Veterans Employment Act, which is sponsored by State Rep. Connie Rowe (R – Jasper) and provides incentives to businesses that hire honorably discharged veterans who are currently unemployed. The bill would ensure that the veterans covered by this incentive program would be hired for full-time jobs and earn at least $14 per hour. Because the program is modeled after the “pay as you go” method of awarding economic incentives, it would have no negative fiscal impact on the budgets.
The Parks for Patriots Act of 2018, which is sponsored by State Rep. Dickie Drake (R – Leeds), would provide free, year-round admission to all Alabama state parks for all active military personnel and veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves. Recently, the Department of Conservation commenced the Parks for Patriots initiative as an administrative pilot program at the suggestion of House Republicans, and this bill would permanently establish the program into state law.
In addition, the House will hold a ceremony honoring the three living Congressional Medal of Honor winners who currently reside in Alabama – Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins of Opelika, Gary Michael Rose of Huntsville, and James Michael Sprayberry of Titus – and at least two of the three have committed to attend the State House event.