Lege Taps and Bonus Pay



By: Jeremy Alford

While usually a national issue, the military’s ongoing affairs grabbed the attention of Louisiana lawmakers several times this year.

Late last month, the Senate closed its doors to establish a moment of silence as 13 fallen servicemen were honored. Sen. Rob Marionneaux, D-Grosse Tete, has led the annual “Military Family Day” since 2005, reading from the floor individual resolutions that honor the lives and accomplishments of those lost. GOP Rep. Jane Smith of Bossier City pushed through House Concurrent Resolution 105, which could lead to a bonus pay program for veterans in 2009. It requests the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Affairs Commission to study and make recommendations regarding an “Afghanistan, Iraq, Global War on Terror Bonus.” The state of Louisiana has a long tradition of establishing bonus payments to wartime veterans, dating back to World War II. Smith wants to re-establish such a fund next year, and she surely won’t be alone in her sentiment, considering the Legislature’s recent track record of increasing the pay of men and women who serve the public.

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