State Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) introduced House Bill 4765 this week that would update the definition of veteran to clearly exclude those who violate the Michigan Anti-Terrorism Act from receiving state-administered veteran benefits. This follows the significant increase of incidents of domestic terrorism over the last few years, including several threats and planned attacks against state-level elected officials in Michigan.
Counterterrorism and homeland security experts have said the most significant domestic terrorism threat currently facing the nation comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and self-styled militias, who often target veterans for radicalization and recruitment. Following the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 earlier this year, authorities found that at least 52 of the suspects arrested for their involvement were active or retired military, law enforcement or government service employees.
“These statistics are not only alarming from a public safety and security standpoint, but also incredibly devastating to the reputation of our armed forces,” said Anthony. “We have a duty to ensure the unpatriotic, deplorable actions of a few bad actors do not tarnish the immense contributions of the thousands of Michiganders who proudly protected and served our nation with honor and integrity. Holding domestic terrorists accountable must be part of this conversation.”
House Bill 4765 builds on Anthony’s previous work over the past year that has gained national attention, including for her strong stance against allowing guns in the Michigan state Capitol following heavily-armed protesters storming the building one year ago today. Anthony has also introduced House Resolution 8 this term following the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., urging Congress to classify domestic terrorism as a federal crime.