SACRAMENTO -Assemblyman Paul Cook’s (R-Yucca Valley) AB 1806, which will help ensure that the unclaimed remains of veterans are buried with the honor and ceremony they deserve, is heading to the Governor’s desk.
This bill will require the County Public Administrators to coordinate with the county veteran service officer, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or other applicable entity to determine whether unclaimed remains belong to a veteran or a veteran’s dependent. They will then report their findings to the California Department of Veterans Affairs who will maintain a statewide list of unclaimed veterans and veterans’ dependents remains. This statewide list will make it much easier for organizations such as the Missing in America Project to locate and bury our fallen veterans.
Cook stated, “These men and women risked their lives to protect us. Now it is our responsibility to help lay them to rest with the honor and dignity they have earned.”
Military veterans make up a disproportionate percentage of the homeless population and often suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can lead them to cut ties with friends, family, and other loved ones. When veterans end up at county morgues and go unclaimed, they are often buried without ceremony or any of the recognition that normally goes along with service in the military.
The Governor must sign the bill by the end of September for it to become law.
Assemblyman Paul Cook represents the Inland Empire, including portions of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.