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Meet the Pahrump veterans who inspired Hafen’s “Purple Heart Bill”

Following the passage of a bill he sponsored this Legislative Session, Assemblyman Greg Hafen II (R-Pahrump) took the time to present signed copies of Assembly Bill 203 to three local veterans who inspired what the lawmaker nicknamed his “Purple Heart Bill.”

Pahrump veteran and Purple Heart recipient Arnold Breitenbach initially reached out in late 2021 to ask why he was not able to personalize his veteran’s license plate, such as the ones made special for Nevada’s disabled veterans.

It inspired Hafen to work toward remedying the oversight. With assistance and input from area veterans — such as Dr. Tom Waters and Bill Dolan — the lawmarker added other provisions to his Purple Heart Bill.

Why it matters

During the Nevada Legislative Session earlier this year, Hafen introduced AB203 and Nevada’s other elected officials rallied behind it.

The bill gives military members who received medals such as the Purple Heart, Silver Star and Bronze Star, as well as Gold Star family members, the same free parking privileges as disabled veterans at state and local government facilities, as well as locations like airports.

AB203 also imposed a penalty for those who fraudulently obtain or use a veterans license plate of any kind, which many veterans agree is a form of stolen valor.

Anyone who knowingly makes a false statement claiming they are a qualifying veterans or the family member of a person who died as a result of service is, “…guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000. In addition, he or she shall surrender to the department any license plates issued…” the legislation reads.

AB 203 passed unanimously and was signed into law by Gov. Joe Lombardo in June.

“This bill has been a long time coming, as the Assemblyman stated. And I’m very honored to have played a small part in getting it across the line for our veterans,” Dolan, who is the commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #15, told the Pahrump Valley Times following the presentation. “I was very honored to receive a copy of the bill. I thank Assemblyman Hafen and all the legislators who got this done and signed into law.”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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