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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2014

Sen. Frank Simpson

House next stop for bills to provide better services and representation to Oklahoma’s veterans

Two Senate bills to help better address the needs of Oklahoma’s veterans will soon be considered in the House. Sen. Frank Simpson is the principal Senate author of Senate Bills 1610 and 1970, which both received unanimous approval in the Senate last week.

SB 1610 redefines “veteran” in Oklahoma statutes to include all honorably discharged veterans regardless of when they served. The measure makes all veterans eligible for state benefits including admission into the state’s seven veterans centers. Currently, only those who served during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf are eligible for state benefits or are allowed into the veterans centers.

“By simply clarifying the definition of a veteran in Oklahoma, we’ll be allowing an additional 78,000 veterans to be eligible for state benefits and have the opportunity, if they wish, to spend their final days in a state veterans center with their brothers in arms,” said Simpson, R-Ardmore.

SB 1970 changes the name of the War Veterans Commission of Oklahoma to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission to expand the representation of the commission to include a broader demographic of Oklahoma veterans. The bill specifies that at least eight of the nine members of the commission will be honorably discharged veterans, one of the members will be a Persian Gulf War veteran and another will be someone who has a family member residing in one of the state’s veterans centers.

“The current membership of the commission doesn’t properly represent the interests of all of Oklahoma’s veterans,” explained Simpson. “These changes will ensure that all veterans have a voice and representation in this commission, which will hopefully help the state better address their needs.”

The bills will next be heard in the House Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs.

“I hope the House will take up and approve these important measures quickly so that we can get our veterans the services they need and bravely earned fighting for their country and state,” said Simpson.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607

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