Senator says his stolen valor bill was stolen, Representative says there are key differences

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- It's called the stolen valor act, claiming military service, experience, or awards you did not earn. A bill, making it illegal, is progressing in the state legislature. Now a state senator says a state representative stole his bill.

"I think it's very disappointing," District 8 Senator Anthony Williams said. "I think it's very disingenuous."

He said his stolen bill, Senate Bill 43, was stolen. His bill got the House Judiciary Committee but no further.

"I would say it's not the first time it's happened and unfortunately it's happening more and more," Sen. Williams said. "I think that this points out how we work in a divided, partisan environment."

He claimed House Bill 2050 is the same as his bill. Both bill criminalize people who lie about military service for personal gains. House Bill 2050 passed the House last week and now is in the Senate.

"I don't understand where the senator is coming from on this," 39th District Representative Rick Saccone said. "My bill is different from his bill. Our legal team took a look at his bill and thought there was some problems with it."

According to Rep. Saccone, his legal team said Senate Bill 43's line about using stolen valor for employment and election to public office could be challenged as unconstitutional in court.

"There's nuances in the way that you word things that can bring challenges to it and not bring challenges to it," Rep. Saccone said. "We tried to craft a bill that would survive any challenges."

"Of course I support the legislation," Sen. Williams said.

He said he just wants one of the bills to be on the governor's desk quickly. He said his bill would be able to get done sooner.

"I just want to see this bill get through," Rep. Saccone said.

House Bill 2050 is currently sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would make the crime a third-degree misdemeanor, which has a punishment of jail time or fines.


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