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Wiggam's Legislation Recognizing USPHS, NOAA and Space Force Members as Veterans Passes Ohio House

December 3, 2020
Scott Wiggam News

Today, State Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wayne County) and the Ohio House passed House Bill 428, which moves to recognize members of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) commissioned corps, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Space Force as veterans under Ohio Law. Wiggam spoke to the bipartisan bill on the House floor.

“This bill honors the members of Public Health Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, and the Space Force as veterans under Ohio Law as they are under Federal law and give them the ability to obtain veteran ID cards,” Wiggam remarked.

In Ohio, there are approximately 1,000 active duty members and veterans between the USPHS and NOAA, with Space Force numbers are uncertain due to its recent addition as a branch of the military.

Wiggam noted that both branches have made significant contributions for their service to the country. This includes USPHS being tasked with the mission of safeguarding national health, including with the COVID-19 pandemic. NOAA serves to understand and predict the weather to protect communities. Both branches served during WWII and have worked alongside other branches of the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Specifically, the bill would allow these members to receive veterans ID cards, which would:

  • Identify them as a veteran, so no more carrying around Military IDs;
  • Serve as an Ohio authorized form of identification;
  • Be used as identification for voting; and
  • Contain lists of important information for the veteran including the phone numbers for the Ohio Department of Veterans Service, and the veterans’ crisis line.

In order to obtain the card, these members must provide a copy of military discharge, two forms of current and valid identification and pay the fee established by the county commissioners that cannot exceed two dollars.

After passing the House, the bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.