For Immediate Release
Respecting Wishes of State’s Fallen Soldiers
HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Brubaker (R-36) that addresses the handling of service members’ remains, should they die while in the line of duty, was approved today by the House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 586 would require the state to recognize a service member’s wishes included within the Record of Emergency Data (Department of Defense [DD] Form 93). Service members are required to update the form before a deployment or every 12 months during an annual personnel review, making it more current than a will in most cases.
Pennsylvania is currently one of a handful of states that does not recognize the federal document as an acceptable form for military personnel, according to Brubaker. This legislation would clarify that these decisions be made based upon the wishes of the person in military service as authorized on the form.
“I am pleased that my colleagues in the House have endorsed this bill. It is a commonsense measure and another way for us to respect the wishes of our servicemen and women when they make the ultimate sacrifice,” said Brubaker. “In current practice, state courts may designate an individual to be responsible for the handling of a service member’s remains even if that person is no longer significant in the service member’s life. My proposal would allow the state to recognize the federal document completed by members of the military, thus allowing our Commonwealth to acknowledge the written wishes of a service member instead of allowing the issue to be decided in court.”
Because the legislation was recently amended in the House, it will be returned to the Senate for concurrence. Senate Bill 586 is the reintroduction of a similar measure unveiled by Brubaker during the previous legislative session.