By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY–On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jabo Waggnoner (R-Birmingham) and Rep. Marcel Black (D-Tuscumbia) received the 2012 Legislator of the Year Award from the State of Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs at their state board meeting.
Deloris Hardin, vice-chair of the board presented the awards in the Governor’s absence. Commissioner Clyde Marsh, Alabama Veterans Affairs, was also present to bestow the awards.
Sen. Waggoner said, “As committed Americans, we believe our nation must always be grateful for the sacrifices the members of our armed forces make in times of war and in times of peace. Our great nation should always honor and remember its fallen heroes, and welcome with open arms those returning home. In exchange for their service to the nation, we all honor and are indebted to those who served our nation.”
The 2012 Legislative Session saw three bills concerning veterans pass.
Rep. Black was recognized for his bill allowing veterans to receive a veteran’s designated drivers license at no additional cost to the veteran. This bill was an idea from one of Black’s constituents. According to Black, there were no lobbyists or special interests involved, it was citizen driven.
Heroes for Hire passed the Senate and House unanimously and signed into law by Gov. Bentley. “We worked hard to pass the Heroes for Hire Tax Credit Act this past session…This new law will offer Alabama businesses a $2000 tax credit for hiring a veteran recently returned from war. We worked hard to make sure you got the funding you needed,” said Waggoner.
The third bill designates March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.
“My colleagues in the Senate and the House joined me in unanimously passing my Senate Joint Resolution 18 which designates every March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” in Alabama. We said at the time that resolution passed that our men and women serving in the Armed Forces will always be recognized by a grateful state and nation for their service,” said Waggoner.
Waggoner said that this was the first time that a state agency had given him an award. “I can assure you that I will always be there for you and for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. As long as I am Rules Chairman – you can rest assured that you and all the veterans in Alabama will have a friend,” Waggoner concluded.