Hawley seeks to make ‘stolen valor’ a state crime

Posted 24 May 2023 at 3:51 pm

Press Release, Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) is blasting his colleagues in the Assembly Majority Conference for blocking an important piece of legislation this week that would have created the state crime of stolen valor in New York.

Numbered A.5701, this bill would have sought to increase the prosecution rate of the crime of impersonating a current or retired armed forces member, as currently, the federal punishment is few and far between. Hawley is livid that the Assembly Majority Conference would block such legislation.

“American Legion Commander James E. Koutz put it best when he stated: ‘Those who deliberately lie about military service, wear medals they did not earn or make claims of combat heroism they did not achieve are more than just liars. They are perpetrators of the worst kind of fraud.’” Hawley said. “Our men and women in the armed forces are valiant heroes, and the respect they earn and deserve in return for their service must not be co-opted by bad actors. To prevent the criminalization of this fraud on the state level is so inane I can’t even begin to understand why they would want to prevent it from passing into law.”