State Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and State Representative Dave Yaccarino (R-North Haven) applauded the final passage of legislation that increases penalties for those who vandalize, possess, war and veterans’ memorials.
"Desecration of our veterans’ memorials is dishonorable and will not be tolerated. This law will help deter that irresponsible conduct," said Senator Fasano.
Public Act No. 12-38, An Act Concerning Desecration of War, or Veterans’ Memorials, imposes harsher penalties on those who interfere with or vandalize war or veterans’ memorials or monuments.
Wallingford resident Mark Call, of the Department of Connecticut-American Legion supported this legislation from the beginning. Mark Call said, "I asked Senator Fasano if he would help get this issue into the spot light and he was more than willing to fight for the cause."
Dan Riccio, North Haven Post 76 Commander also applauded Rep. Yaccarino and Sen. Fasano for their efforts. "I have known Sen. Fasano and Rep. Yaccarino for many years and they always stand for Veterans," said Dan Riccio.
The bill also increases penalties for unlawful possession, purchase or sale of a war or veterans’ memorial or monument. Both of these offenses become class D felonies and carry a fine of $5,000.
"These monuments were built in recognition of service to our country. Many of the men and women, whose names are etched in the stone paid the ultimate sacrifice," said Representative Dave Yaccarino. "To steal or vandalize these monuments is cruel. This law will discourage this kind of behavior."
During November and December 2011, towns throughout the center of the state in the Naugatuck Valley suffered a series of thefts of war and veterans’ memorials. It has been reported that the thefts were likely tied to the value of the bronze as scrap metal.
"Over the past decade, Connecticut has lost nearly 70 service members in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, joining the countless number of heroes who lost their lives heroically defending our nation and protecting the freedoms we hold dear," Governor Malloy said. "Let this new law serve as a reminder and a deterrent for those who don’t understand the true value of what these memorials mean for our country."
The bill was initially introduced by the Select Committee on Veterans’ Affairs as Senate Bill 198, which passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It was signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Monday, May 14th.
(Attached Photo: Rep. Yaccarino and Sen. Fasano in front of the Korean War Memorial in North Haven.)