OKLAHOMA CITY -- A new law benefiting the children of fallen service men and women goes into effect as the 4th of July holiday nears. "The Heroes Promise Act" provides free tuition at Oklahoma colleges and universities for the children of Oklahoma troops who are killed in active military service.
State Representative Eric Proctor, (D) Tulsa, co-authored House Bill 1343 and said he has been fighting for four years to get it passed. The bill was held up in a senate committee for three years but has now been passed unanimously by the Senate and signed by Governor Mary Fallin.
"I believe we have a moral obligation to do everything we can for those kids who have lost a mom or dad in service to their country," Proctor said Thursday morning.
"It's something that's the very least we can do for the kids of the fallen troops."
Proctor said the law applies to any children whose parent is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan or training while on active duty. The service man or woman must have lived in Oklahoma prior to being deployed.
"There are a little over 100 Oklahoma service men and women that have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan," Proctor said. "The law will apply to their children as soon as they become college age.
"It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 to 85 kids," he said. "It's a very sensitive issue, and the military won't release exact numbers because of privacy issues."
The law goes into effect July 1, 2011. Its co-author is state Senator Tom Ivester (D-Sayre).