Senate passes Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act

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Washington, D.C. (November 18, 2013) – The Senate unanimously passed the Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act Monday evening.

This piece of legislation was introduced by Indiana’s U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats in August 2013.

The bill gives the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs the authority to exhume veterans buried at national cemeteries who have committed a Federal or State capital crime.

Current statute prohibits burying veterans who committed a Federal or State capital crime, but does not allow the VA or Army to correct a mistake that has been made.

The VA now has authority to exhume the remains of Michael LeShawn Anderson, a veteran who shot and killed Indianapolis resident Alicia Dawn Koehl last year before committing suicide.

“I thank my colleagues for passing the Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act,” said Donnelly.  “My office has worked with the Koehl family on this legislation for many months, and I know this action will provide relief to the Koehl family and a solution to tragic circumstances.  It will also preserve one of our nation’s greatest honors – being buried in a veterans’ cemetery.  I urge the House to move quickly to pass this bipartisan bill into law.”

Representative Susan Brooks (IN-05) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

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