SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Senate passed a bill Monday that would require courts to consider a veteran's military background during criminal sentencing hearings.
The measure would allow a judge to give a lesser sentence or put the service member in a treatment program rather than prison.
Proponents say the bill could help identify veterans who need treatment for combat-related mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder. They say service members would not get a "free pass," especially for violent crimes.
The bill comes after a 2010 law allowing district attorneys to tell the court about a defendant's military status.