Veterans can now get special licenses

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The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing a veteran-status driver’s license or identification card to any honorably discharged service member who presents a Certificate of Release from Active Duty or other acceptable documentation of military service. The new practice is the result of legislation sponsored in the Senate by Senator Walter S. Felag (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Tiverton, Bristol), chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans’ Affairs. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Peter Martin (D-Dist. 75, Newport). “The veterans I know are not boastful, but they are proud of their service,” said Sen. Felag. “Placing that designation on their driver’s license will be a constant reminder that the state is aware of their sacrifice and grateful for it.” Sen. Felag said he was gratified that the General Assembly and governor acted to allow the issuance of the veteran license, which he called “meaningful and helpful for our fellow citizens who did their duty and served their country with honor and valor.” “Not only will these licenses allow veterans to show pride in their service, but they will also provide a number of other benefits to veterans,” he said, as important information for first responders in the case of a medical emergency, quick identification for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in regard to benefit eligibility, and as a convenient form of identification to allow veterans to take advantage of discounts and other incentives afforded to them. Because the September 1 effective date of the new law is the Saturday of the long Labor Day weekend, the DMV will officially begin issuing the licenses on Tuesday, September 4. An online application form for the license is already available on the DMV website. There is no additional cost (beyond the normal license renewal charge) for issuance of a license or ID with the veteran designation.

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