June 25, 2017
A bill that would make posing as a member of the military for personal gain a crime is set to become law in Pennsylvania.
HB 168 passed the state Senate by unanimous vote Tuesday and now heads to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk for his signature.
Under the law, it would be a summary offense if someone falsely claims to be member of the armed services or misrepresents themselves with a uniform or decorations in order to solicit aid or money.
“Some people have actually tried to make money by falsely claiming veteran status,” said state Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny/Washington, the bill's primary sponsor. “They will now be brought to account."
Saccone, who served in the Air Force, said the proposed law will help preserve the reputation of fellow veterans and their families.
Falsely claiming veteran status for personal gain is already illegal on a federal level. A 2013 law banning the practice was passed in response to a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a previous, more broad-ranging law which made it a crime to lie about military service.
The Supreme Court’s decision said that law violated a person's First Amendment right to free speech.