Provide Combat Veterans with Greater Access to our Beaches and Parks

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Every day, 22 veterans in the United States die by suicide. As a nation, it is our duty to ensure that when we send our men and women into combat, we will take care of them when they return home. We believe they not only deserve the finest medical care, but should benefit from greater access to the healing qualities of our ocean, beaches and nature.

Currently, the state of California allows jurisdictions to offer certain veterans with special license plates — Pearl Harbor Survivor, Legion of Valor, Former American Prisoner of War, Congressional Medal of Honor and Purple Heart — free parking in metered zones.

California also offers certain veterans free use of facilities at state beaches and parks through the Distinguished Veteran Pass Program. Under the program, a “Distinguished Veteran” is defined as a veteran who lives in California and was held as a prisoner of war, received a Congressional Medal of Honor, or has a 50% or more service-related disability.

With Ocean 22, we are calling on California lawmakers to expand both of these programs so that more combat veterans can participate and have greater access to our natural resources. Specifically, we are seeking to amend the Vehicle Code to create a new special license plate for United States combat veterans who are California residents with general or better discharge. We also seek to amend the Public Resources Code to use the same criteria to determine eligibility for the Distinguished Veteran Pass Program.

Please add your voice to ensure our combat veterans can enjoy the land they have risked their lives to defend.

For more information about California’s Distinguished Veteran Pass Program, visit CalVet.ca.gov.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, the Veterans Crisis Line provides free, confidential help 24/7 by phone at 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) and text message at 838255.