A bill by Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Beaumont, to safeguard veterans’ remains and ensure they’re buried with dignity was unanimously approved by both houses of the Legislature and headed today for Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
Under AB 1806, any U.S. military veteran or that veteran’s immediate dependent whose remains are not claimed but are identified will be turned over to organizations that provide internment services for veterans.
“These men and women risked their lives to protect us,” Cook said. “Now it is our responsibility to help lay them to rest with the honor and dignity they have earned.”
The California Department of Veterans Affairs, working with county public administrators and federal agencies, will maintain a statewide database of veterans and veterans’ dependents’ unclaimed remains, under the bill.
If the remains are not claimed by relatives in a year, they can be released to state-recognized veterans’ groups for burial.
Veterans whose bodies are unclaimed from county morgues are often buried without ceremony or any of the recognition that normally goes along with service in the military, an aide to Cook said.
Brown has to sign AB 1806 by Sept. 30 for it to become law.