A Missouri House committee is teed up to vote today on a wide-ranging bill to help military veterans. The proposal is sponsored by Sen. Ben Brown, R-Washington.

If a Missouri House Rules committee gives the package a thumbs up, the Senate bill will head to the House for debate.

The plan has several features. It would make it easier for veterans to get a handicap placard for their vehicle.

The bill was inspired by one of Brown’s constituents. While out knocking on doors during his Senate campaign, a veteran shared the red tape required to get the placard.

“We have somewhat of a burdensome process here in Missouri in relation to other states,” Brown told Missourinet. “In other states, you are able to simply provide the letter from the VA stating your disability status and you’re able to get a handicap placard. Here in the state of Missouri, for whatever reason, we require a number of additional doctor’s visits and other red tape.”

Under Brown’s bill, a disabled veteran would instead show the DMV a document from the VA with evidence of their disability.

Another highlight of the proposal would cover the cost of military specialty license plates for veterans.

“Whether you wanted to show off your pride for a medal that was awarded to you, or simply show pride in the branch of the military that you served in, I figure the least that we can do for those that went out there and fought bravely for our country is cover the $15 fee,” said Brown.

It would also require the Missouri Veterans Commission to work with the Department of Mental Health to find ways to fight veteran suicide.

“It would just update the procedures here in Missouri to be more in line with what our veterans really need to help them out when they are going through a tough time like that,” said Brown.

Another component would allow a full state tax deduction for military and National Guard enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses. In addition, the package would award veterans who served on active duty or National Guard members, from 2001 to 2021.

Brown said the bill no longer includes a provision to restrict foreign ownership of Missouri land. Why?

“I don’t want to put words in the committee chairman’s mouth, but I think that that’s a little bit more of a controversial issue. Whereas everything else in this bill, I think, has unified support,” he said.

For more information about Senate Bill 912, click here.

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