Ask the Advocate for Feb. 25, 2013

When does HB499 allowing veterans to display their veteran status on their Louisiana driver’s license go into effect? I believe Gov. Jindal signed it into law sometime back. I have tried several times to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and the two times I was able to get a person, they did not know what I am referring to. I cannot find this information anywhere.

House Bill 499, now Act 398 of the 2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, went into effect on Aug. 1, 2012.

“You can get it right now,” Stephen F. Campbell, Commissioner of the state Office of Motor Vehicles, said of the special designation on drivers’ licenses and state identification cards.

Veterans can take the needed documents to any of the 82 Office of Motor Vehicles around the state, pay the regular fees and get the word “veteran” added to their driver’s license under their photo. The new licenses then can be used at retailers that have discounts for veterans, but won’t substitute for the official papers needed for state or federal veterans’ programs.

The state Office of Motor Vehicles and the state Department of Veteran Affairs have held several special events around the state to advertise the designation and newspapers, such as The Advocate, have written numerous articles about the permit.

Most veterans will need to bring their DD Form 214 issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, according to the state law. Older veterans, who served before the form was commonly used, will need to show proof of service.

Campbell said Louisiana’s drivers’ licenses are being redesigned and upgraded later in the year. At that point, a U.S. flag will be added to the bold-faced “veteran” stamp on the license.

More information is available at the Office of Motor Vehicles website http://omv.dps.state.la.us/

Send questions to Ask The Advocate, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0588; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0297;or email asktheadvocate@theadvocate.com.