Legislature Votes to Make Lying About Military Service a Crime

False claims of military service could lead to a $500 fine or six months in jail under legislation sent to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature by a Monday night state Senate vote.
The Senate vote on HB2491 was 33-0 with Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, as sponsor and virtually no debate. The House had approved earlier with a vote of 93-2 with Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, as sponsor.
“Apparently, there were some people putting on their tombstones that they were World War II or Vietnam veterans,” Massey told colleagues in a brief Senate floor discussion.
Dunn said earlier that a woman constituent, who he declined to identify, had seen the tombstones bearing claims of military service that she knew were bogus.Her concerns inspired him to file the bill, Dunn said.
Dunn said he considered any false claim of military service to be a “theft of valor” and there should be a penalty.
The bill exempts people wearing military uniforms in parades, acting performances or for educational purposes. The sponsors noted there’s already a state law that makes it illegal to wear military medals that were not earned in military service and said the new law will basically broaden the existing statute.
Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, one of the two representative who voted against the bill, said he thought the measure went too far and wondered whether the new law would be enforced against, for example, against teenagers wearing an Army surplus hat. Dunn said that the prosecution would require actual intent to deceive others about military service and such a situation would not meet the standard.

3 thoughts on “Legislature Votes to Make Lying About Military Service a Crime

  1. Richard

    I could go along with this if they would make it a crime to lie while in or while seeking election to a public office.
    Too many legislators and not enough useful stuff to do.

  2. W.P. Fisher

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Tennessee Legislature:
    I don’t live in Tennessee but a bit to the NE in Arkansas. The nearly unanamous votes on HB 2491 is truly impressive. My sincerest congratulations to all but two legislators in the TN congress.
    Speaking as one who was in the 17th Cavalry on “The Street Without Joy” during Tet 1968, I note that “Richard” and ‘Micky” are likely carrying around a couple of pretty big mouths. Meanwhile, I continue to carry some CHICOM shrapnel, as do almost every single one of the fine Troopers I served with.
    The worst thing any legislator can do is listen to the likes of Fonda, Kerry, and the rest of the cowards who “Richard” and “Mickey” so remind me of, and who would mostly rather do drugs than smell cordite and defend their country.
    My thanks and sincere congratulations to you,
    Bill Fisher

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