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The Journal Gazette

Friday, March 02, 2018 1:00 am

Banks-backed bill passes Senate

Updates military memorial eligibility

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

The U.S. Senate approved legislation Thursday introduced by Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, to update eligibility requirements for memorial headstones and markers provided for the families of certain military veterans.

The House passed the bill in November.

It needs President Donald Trump's signature to become law.

Banks' bill would have the Department of Veterans Affairs provide memorial markers for spouses and dependent children of veterans whose remains are unavailable if the spouses or dependent children died on or after Nov. 11, 1998. Current laws use that eligibility date for spouses but Dec. 22, 2006, for dependent children.

“In some cases, a spouse and child have passed away in the same accident, and the spouse received a headstone, while the child did not. This legislation will fix this unfortunate situation, and I look forward to President Trump signing it into law,” Banks, a member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

Each house of Congress approved the legislation by unanimous consent. Banks introduced the bill in August. It was co-sponsored by two Republican House members and a Democrat.