For Immediate Release
Legislation Honors the Wishes of State’s Fallen Soldiers
HARRISBURG – Under legislation unanimously approved by the Senate today and sponsored by Senator Mike Brubaker (R-36), the Commonwealth would be required to recognize a federal document outlining the wishes of service members regarding the handling of their remains should they die in the line of duty.
Service members are required to designate a person responsible for disposition of remains in accordance with federal law by completing a Record of Emergency Data (Department of Defense [DD] Form 93). The document is witnessed by an authorized military official and updated every year on the service member’s birthday and prior to each deployment.
However, some states such as Pennsylvania do not recognize the federal document as an acceptable form for military personnel. As a result, there have been instances of civil actions between family members over the ultimate disposition of a fallen service member’s remains. According to Brubaker, Senate Bill 586 would require the state to recognize a service member’s wishes included within the DD Form 93.
“This bill is a simple, straightforward and commonsense approach to ensuring grieving family members are not burdened with trouble surrounding the proper handling of a loved one’s remains. It’s time this Commonwealth joins the 40 other states currently recognizing the DD Form 93 in cases involving the death of a service member in active duty status,” said Brubaker. “We should respect the wishes of our servicemen and women when they make the ultimate sacrifice and Senate Bill 586 is another way to honor their service.”
Senate Bill 586 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.