Vietnam War veteran Jim Craig, of Monroe, told legislators Wednesday that he was spit upon when he returned home from his tour of duty.
“(We were) called baby killers,” Craig said to the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice in support of legislation to toughen penalties against people who target servicemen and disabled veterans.
The panel advanced House Bill 18 to subject the attackers to at least a year behind bars.
The legislation sparked lengthy debate.
State Rep. Terry Landry, D-Lafayette, said a simple bar fight can turn ugly and lead to charges that follow a person for the rest of his life.
“Let’s just not do things for the sake of doing it,” he said.
An amendment to the bill appeased many committee members.
The change would force prosecutors to prove that the attacker should have known the victim was a member of the military or a disabled veteran and that the battery was committed as a result of that knowledge.