Bill on penalties for damaging vet monuments set for hearing

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HARTFORD — A public hearing on a proposed bill to increase the penalties for destruction of veterans’ monuments will be held Tuesday.

State Rep. Len Greene (R-105) and a group of Valley legislators recently submitted legislation that aims to strengthen current state law by increasing the penalties on people convicted of defacing or stealing veterans’ monuments. The proposed bill would double the current fine and would require full restitution for the cost of repairs or replacement of the damaged war or veterans’ memorials or monuments.

There have been several incidents throughout the Naugatuck Valley area recently where monuments have been vandalized or stolen to presumably be sold as scrap metal. Criminal penalties for vandalism or theft are tied to the monetary value of the monument. Greene wants to increase those penalties across the board regardless of the cost of the monument to better reflect the true value of such a memorial. Under current law, any person who damages veterans’ memorials shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. If the property is damaged over the amount of $1,000 the person shall be guilty of a class D felony.

The Select Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will discuss the proposed bill during a public hearing scheduled at 12 p.m. in Room 2A of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave., Hartford.