The Oregon Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would require courts to consider a veteran's military background during criminal sentencing hearings.
The bill now moves to the House. It would allow a judge to give a lesser sentence or choose to put the service member in a treatment program rather than prison.
Proponents say the measure 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 follows a 2010 law allowing district attorneys to tell the court about a defendant's military status.