Governor Jindal said, “Today’s ribbon-cutting is another step we can take to make sure our veterans can rest with dignity and that we eternally honor their courageous service. This resting place is the least we can do for the thousands of veterans and their families who have given up so much in the name of our country and our freedom.”
Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery is the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs’ second cemetery site.
The first LDVA cemetery is located in Keithville and opened in 2007. The Leesville site is a total of 204 acres.
The cemetery is expected to accommodate roughly 59,500 veterans and their families who reside in and around Central Louisiana. Additional staffing and funding for the new cemetery has been included in the Governor’s budget.
Governor Jindal also announced two new proposals he will pursue in the 2012 Regular Legislative Session in support of Louisiana veterans.
Jindal will propose legislation to allow an official “Veteran” designation on the driver’s licenses for Louisiana veterans. Veterans in Louisiana have no picture ID available for proof of their veteran status, except for a TRICARE veteran’s insurance card available mostly to retired veterans.
With this legislation, Louisiana will join states like Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Ohio with laws permitting veterans a designation on their driver’s licenses for proof of their military service.
Jindal also said he pursue legislation to make sure students who delay their TOPS award to serve in the military do not lose their eligibility for voluntarily reenlisting.
Currently, veterans must enroll in a postsecondary institution and claim their TOPS award by the semester immediately following their fifth anniversary of their high school graduation. Students can obtain a waiver if their service is involuntarily extended.
However, students who choose to continue to serve their country and voluntarily re-enlist are unfairly penalized and lose their TOPS eligibility.
Under the Governor’s proposal, veterans will be able to utilize their TOPS awards as long as they enroll within one year after completing their active service in the Armed Forces.