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May 14, 2013 > Violations misdemeanors, punishable by fines, jail time

Violations misdemeanors, punishable by fines, jail time

Submitted By Sergio Reyes

Senate Bill 272, legislation increasing protections against the deceptive use of military emblems to make it seem like military or veteran service organizations endorse financial products or services, passed the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee with strong bipartisan support on April 15, 2013.

Introduced by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro), this timely bill would make violations of this particular provision a misdemeanor crime and/or impose a fine of up to $2,500 and set damages equal to three times the amount solicited.

As service-members return from deployment and California's veteran population increases, some businesses and non-governmental groups are increasingly trying to sell their products or services, or even promote events, by appearing to be connected to the military. They establish the connection by featuring military emblems or military department insignias, or both, on their promotional materials and Internet websites without receiving permission from the appropriate military body, such as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard.

"The deceptive use of military or veteran emblems by groups not affiliated with them, especially for financial gain, is clearly wrong and dishonors the sacrifice that these brave men and women have endured," Corbett said. "SB 272 takes the next logical step by ensuring that this unacceptable behavior is punishable by law so that military or veterans groups here in California, including local organizations, are always afforded the due respect and honor that they rightfully deserve."

SB 272 is co-sponsored by the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, AMVETS/Department of California, Veterans of Foreign Wars/Department of California and Vietnam Veterans of America/California State Council.

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