By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives will hold a “Military and Veterans Day” in the Alabama House chambers to honor Alabama’s veterans for their service.
Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R – Monrovia, announced that the House will have 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. Rowe’s bill 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. Since 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, provides 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 Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins of Opelika, Gary Michael Rose of Huntsville and James Michael Sprayberry of Titus. At least two of the three have committed to attend the State House event.
On Tuesday, Jan. 9, the House passed resolutions honoring both Alabama’s veterans and Alabama’s living Medal of Honor winners. Both resolutions were entered by Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise.
The resolutions will be presented to members of the military by the legislature at the special joint session on Tuesday.
Presidents since 1861, in the name of Congress, have awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen.