Today, Governor Rick Scott announced he has signed House Bill 559, which further honors and recognizes Florida's veterans for their service and sacrifice. House Bill 559 changes statutory references from the Korean Conflict to the Korean War and Vietnam Era to Vietnam War, a change requested by veterans to more accurately reflect the nature of the fighting in these two wars. The change in the name is also reflected on the Korean War Veteran license plate. This legislation also redesigns Florida's military and veteran special use plates to include images of the awards and decorations on the plate. This allows the plates to be more recognizable and increases awareness of the special use plates.
Governor Scott said, "I am pleased to sign this legislation that properly honors the service of our heroes who served our nation in Korea and Vietnam. With more than 1.5 million veterans in Florida, we have the third largest population of veterans in the nation, and I am proud to sign H.B. 559 that will redesign the Korean War license plate and establish eligibility guidelines for other veterans' license plates. This legislation is one more way we thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice."
House Speaker Will Weatherford said, "As Americans, we are grateful for the sacrifices made by our veterans to keep us safe and free. This session, we were proud to honor their sacrifices and also create a Combat Medical Badge to recognize the contributions of field medics in our military."
Senator Charlie Dean, Senate bill sponsor, said, "As a veteran myself, I was honored to be able to sponsor this bill which created the Combat Medical Badge special use license plate. These veterans protected our freedoms and I am excited the State of Florida will be providing those who have earned this badge another well deserved recognition."
Senator Thad Altman said, "We thank Governor Scott and the Legislature for supporting our military and their families, and this legislation will serve as a reminder of those who fight to protect the freedom, liberty, and democracy we enjoy in America."
Representative Larry Metz, House bill sponsor, said, "Our Korean War veterans fought courageously in dire conditions to stop the march of communism and preserve freedom, ensuring the survival and success of the Republic of Korea. Over 36,500 of them made the ultimate sacrifice while another 7,900 are still missing in action. Therefore, it is imperative that we honor them by calling it what is really was -- a war. The same principle is true for our Vietnam War veterans; with 58,272 names etched in granite on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, how could we not call it a war?"
Representative Richard Corcoran said, "I am thankful to Governor Scott and the Legislature for working together to create the Combat Medical Badge specialty license plate, and recognizing the service of the field medics on the battle field."
Representative Doc Renuart said, "I want to thank our Governor and legislators for recognizing the importance of military special use license plates. The signing of HB 559 will not only benefit military service members or veterans, but also help support the state's seven veteran's nursing homes."
Representative Matt Gaetz said, "With the third largest veteran population in the nation, Governor Scott and Florida once again show the world that we appreciate the service and sacrifice of our veterans."
Representative Jeanette Nuñez said, "Governor Scott has led the way in making Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation and the signing of HB 559 is further proof that he is committed to the veteran community."
Representative Amanda Murphy said, "Protecting and caring for our veterans is critical and I'm thankful that we made a lot of progress this year. I am thankful to our Governor and my colleagues in the legislature for supporting this important legislation."
Major General Emmett R. Titshaw, Adjutant General, Florida said, "We are thankful to serve in a state that continues to recognize the service of our veterans. Military members can proudly display their contributions on behalf of the nation .one more way to demonstrate that Florida is the most military-friendly state in the United States."
Retired Army Col. Mike Prendergast, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs, said, "We were proud to advocate for this bill, as many of the license plate additions and upgrades signed into law by Governor Scott came directly from recommendations our agency received from Florida's veteran community. The new and enhanced license plates are a great way to recognize and support Florida's more than 1.5 million veterans."