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New version of Stolen Valor Act heads to president's desk for signature
WASHINGTON -- People who lie about receiving a military medal could once again be punished as criminals under a new version of the Stolen Valor Act.
It was just passed by the House and Senate in Washington.
A previous version was shot down last year by the Supreme Court.
Changes that were made to make sure the bill isn't struck down again.
The idea of someone lying about honors that many servicemembers lost their lives to earn is disgusting to a lot of people especially veterans.
Nathaniel Bass, Veteran: "It's a total slap in the face."
Nathaniel Bass, a Vietnam War Veteran in Pensacola, says he risked his life to earn a bronze star.
He and other veterans say they're happy those who lie about honors may soon be punished.
"I saved a crew. It was a helicopter. It was shot down. Myself and two other of my comrades went over and we pulled 'em out."
William Duff, Veteran: "If you didn't earn it, don't wear it."
The original version of the Stolen Valor Act had been in effect for six years when the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
At the time, the law was written to say it was a crime simply to lie about military service and awards.
But the Supreme Court said the act violated a person's right to free speech.
The new version is more specific, making it a crime to lie about being decorated with the intent to profit personally or financially.
William Duff, Veteran: "We've got men and women out there serving every day, putting their life on the line and making a sacrifice. And then you've got people who wanna come back and say, 'I did this, I did that' and they wanna make money off it, no, that's no good!"
Violators could face up to a year in prison.
The lawmakers sponsoring the new act say they're confident it will hold up in court.
Legal experts we spoke with agree with them.
The bill is now heading to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign it into law.