By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would provide free, year-round admission to all state parks for all active military personnel and veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves.
House Bill 58, the Parks for Patriots Act, is being sponsored by state Rep. Dickie Drake, R-Leeds.
Recently, the Department of Conservation commenced the Parks for Patriots initiative as an administrative pilot program at the suggestion of House Republicans. This bill would permanently establish the program into state law.
Drake said that his bill would allow the veterans in the parks including the boat launches and the state pier in Gulf Shores for free all year
“This is a very good gesture,” said State Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery. But he hadded that, “We also have a number of homeless veterans. We have a lot of veterans with problems when they come back.”
The bill passed without opposition.
The Alabama State Parks posted on social media, “Don’t forget about our #ParksforPatriots Veterans program. Free entrance for Veterans 365 days a year. This is our way of saying thank you to the men and women that sacrifice so much for our freedoms.”
Tuesday was Military and Veterans Appreciation Day in the Alabama House of Representatives.
The House had a number of veterans on hand including two Medal of Honor winners.
“Today I had the distinct honor of speaking with Vietnam Veterans from throughout Alabama, as we celebrate Veterans Day in the Alabama Legislature. Join me in thanking these men and women for their service and dedication to our great country.” Chairman of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and state Rep. Barry Moore said.
The bill now goes to the Alabama Senate for its consideration.