|You Suited-Up For The USA?|
In My Book That Makes You A Vet.
(photo from vetaffairs.sd.gove)
Essentially, the Act swells the roster of South Dakota-recognized veterans to include all those who served in reserve or National Guard units. It extends to all (about 25,000, according to a group opposed to the measure) the newly-defined veterans virtually all the rights, privileges and benefits (only specified exception being a bonus) that were previously accorded only to those who served what might be called a "conventional hitch." With understandable reasons, some veterans who claim that status under the original definition don't like the change. They've formed a group, led by Theodore J. Fowler, called South Dakota Veterans for Veterans that is trying to get the new law referred to the voters, meaning they're now circulating petitions in hopes of getting the nearly 14,000 signatures necessary to block implementation until the law can be voted on in November 2016. Fowler, a Vietnam-era U.S. Army veteran believes the costs associated with the extension of benefits to so many new enrollees is a matter that has not been adequately considered.
There doesn't seem to be much discussion about costs in any of the SD Legislature's publications about the progress of the bill, so I think Fowler and his group have a point. There should be some clarification about the costs involved, and I expect some information about that to materialize soon after the Act takes effect--July 1 this year unless Fowler's group can get
|Black Hills National Cemetery|
Plenty Of These Folks Started As Reservists
(photo from sorabji.com)
Their willingness to do so is about as commendable an act of citizenship and patriotism as any I can think of. Institutionalizing a show of appreciation for those folks by including them in the benefit pool of those we call "veterans" seems a worthy way for South Dakota to say "thanks."