Salas Bill to Protect Veterans’ Memorials Signed by Governor
SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2801 into law. Authored by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), AB 2801 clarifies that veterans’ memorials are afforded specific protection against vandalism under the California Penal Code and Military and Veterans Code.
“Veterans sacrifice every single day for our country and put their lives on the line to defend us,” said Assemblymember Salas. “Our laws should be clear that anyone found guilty of vandalizing veterans’ memorials will be held accountable under the law, especially in light of the recent vandalism against the Kern Veterans Memorial. I thank the governor for signing this bill that will help preserve and protect memorials that honor those who have fought and died for our country.”
“California’s veterans applaud Assemblyman Salas for authoring this important bill. As a society, we cannot condone vandalism to the memorials erected in remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice made by members of our military,” said Frederick A. Romero, Commander of the American G.I. Forum of California, who Salas worked with on the legislation along with several other statewide veterans’ organizations.
In June of this year, the Bakersfield Police Department confirmed the Kern Veterans Memorial in downtown Bakersfield was damaged, and that they were investigating the incident as a possible act of vandalism. The County has since budgeted money to repair the damage, and under this new law the perpetrators of such vandalism would be guilty of a crime and could face jail time.
Across the state, there have been similar incidents, including at the Capitol in Sacramento and another in Los Angeles. This past month in San Jose, a memorial honoring the 142 San Jose residents who died in the Vietnam War was vandalized for the second time in two years.
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Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Avenal, Corcoran, Delano, Hanford, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.