Danny Burgess priority bill preserving veterans’ history is already on the move
At the eleventh-hour, Danny Burgess gets a challenger.

'Creating this program will ensure that we remember the stories, impart the courage and honor the service of Florida’s veterans.'

Sen. Danny Burgess’ top priority this Legislative Session is to preserve the stories and experiences of Florida’s veterans through a bill creating the Veterans’ History Program within the Florida Department of State.

The bill (SB 408) cleared its first committee, the Senate Committee on Government Oversight & Accountability, with a 6-0 favorable vote.

In addition to collecting and preserving stories and experiences from veterans, the bill would also document the state of Florida’s military contributions throughout U.S. history.

“When I led the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs under Gov. (Ron) DeSantis, I tried to find Florida D-Day veterans for the 75th anniversary, but it was nearly impossible,” Burgess said of his motivation for filing the legislation. “That’s when I first started thinking about how we could preserve the memory of our state’s heroes before it is too late and the opportunity to do so is gone forever.”

Under the proposed legislation, the program would be established as a Florida Folklife Program, which allows Florida folklorists to seek and identify willing veterans to share their experiences for inclusion in the program.

The bill would also allow coordination with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and use of “a third-party vender to fulfill its responsibilities.” The bill also allows for the creation of rules under the proposed program.

“Creating this program will ensure that we remember the stories, impart the courage and honor the service of Florida’s veterans,” Burgess said. “I believe doing so will benefit Floridians for generations to come.”

Burgess further described his inspiration from the bill, noting a trip on Veterans Day with his son to participate in a local parade.

“As we rode by, a World War II veteran struggled to rise from his walker, stood at attention and rendered salute. I don’t know his name or his story, but he had a tremendous impact on my son and I, forever,” Burgess recalled. “I want to be sure that we capture his experience, and that of so many veterans like him, so that their service and sacrifice is never forgotten.”

Burgess’ bill heads next to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development, followed by the Fiscal Policy committee.

Rep. Michelle Salzman has filed companion legislation (HB 685) in the House. Her identical version has not yet received a vote.

If approved, the bill would take effect July 1.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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