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LEGISLATIVE NEWS

 

Legislative Recommendations 7 February 2024

Our priorities will change as more bills are introduced.  However, we need to be prepared to provide witness slips as bills go to committee. Remember all bills do not go to Veterans Affairs.  


All bills in the Senate unless noted are in the assignment committee, House Bills are in the Rules Committee. Our Priorities are the Claim Shark issue the new bill is SB3479 & SB2315 Veterans Tax exemption. We also have one bill that we STRONGLY OPPOSE HB4680 We feel this would be a deterrent to transparency of service organizations. link


Illinois State Legislation

Claim Shark AmendmentSB3479 Sen Porfirio & Sen Hastings

Amends provisions of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act concerning deceptive practices targeting veterans and military members. Changes the definition of "veteran or military benefits services” to any services offered or provided to a veteran, military member, or family member who is entitled to receive benefits under federal, State, or local law, policy, or practice as a result of, at least in part, qualifying military service. Such services include assistance, consulting or coaching in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of claims or other attempts to obtain benefits, increase benefits, or appeal a decision related to obtaining or increasing benefits. Adds a veterans services disclosure to be made by any person providing veteran or military benefits services. Makes it an unlawful practice for any person providing veteran or military benefits services to fail at the outset of the business relationship to clearly provide, both orally and in writing, veterans services disclosures when veteran or military benefits services are provided in exchange for any financial compensation, benefit or thing of value. Makes other changes. link



SB2315—INC TX-STANDARD EXEMPTION Override of Gov veto on Homestead Exemption Provision now in the Senate Assignment Committee

HFA #1 to SB 2315Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the Property Tax Code. In a Section granting a homestead exemption to veterans with disabilities, provides that property that is used as a qualified residence by a veteran who was a member of the United States Armed Forces during World War II is exempt from taxation regardless of the veteran's level of disability. Provides that a veteran who qualifies as a result of his or her service in World War II need not reapply for the exemption. Makes changes concerning service-connected disabilities. Makes changes concerning surviving spouses. link


SB2666—MILITARY FUNERAL HONORS LEAVE - Sen Porfirio - Judiciary Committee 

Amends the Family Military Leave Act. Changes the name of the Act to the "Military Leave Act”. Provides that an employee may use up to 8 hours per calendar month to participate in a funeral honors detail, up to a total of 40 hours per calendar year, or more if authorized by the employer or if provided for in a collective bargaining agreement. Provides for requirements to take leave for funeral honors details. Provides that an employee that takes leave may do so in lieu of, and without having exhausted, his or her vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory leave, or any other leave that may be granted to the employee, including sick leave and disability leave. Defines terms. Provides that the employer of an employee that takes leave must pay the employee his or her regular rate of pay for the leave taken to participate in a funeral honors detail. Makes conforming changes. Effective immediately. link


SB2665OMA-SERVICE MEMBER ATTENDANCE - Sen Porfirio - Executive Committee

Amends the Open Meetings Act. Provides that, if a quorum of the members of the public body is physically present, a majority of the public body may allow a member of that body to attend the meeting by other means if the member is prevented from physically attending because of performance of active military duty as a service member. Defines "active military duty” and "service member”. link

 

HB4128—VETERANS DAY-PAID LEAVE

Creates the Veterans Day Paid Leave Act. On and after January 1, 2025, requires each employer to provide each employee who is a veteran with a paid day off on Veterans Day if the employee would otherwise be required to work on that day. Provides that the employee must provide notice to the employer that he or she intends to take time off on Veterans Day and must provide the employer with documentation verifying that he or she is a veteran. Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates an income tax credit in an amount equal to 100% of the wages paid by the taxpayer to a veteran as a result of the paid day off required under the Veterans Day Paid Leave Act. Effective immediately. link


SB2626—CRIM ID ACT-EXPUNGEMENT FILING - Expungement from Veterans Treatment Court Assigned to Special Committee

Amends the Criminal Identification Act. Provides that, in anticipation of the successful completion of a diversion program, a petitioner may file a petition for expungement at least 61 days before the anticipated dismissal of the case. Provides that, if a petition is filed, and upon the successful completion of the diversion program and dismissal of the case, the court shall review the petition and shall grant expungement if the petitioner meets all requirements. Amends the Drug Court Treatment Act, the Veterans and Service members Court Treatment Act, and the Mental Health Court Treatment Act to make conforming changes. link


SB2751—LOCAL-DISABLED VET PERMIT FEE Veterans Home Improvement due to Disability

Amends the Counties Code, Township Code, and Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that a veteran with a disability or the veteran’s caregiver shall not be charged any building permit fee for improvements to the residence of the veteran with a disability if the improvements are required to accommodate a disability of the veteran. Provides that the applications, forms, and other paperwork required to obtain a building permit must still be submitted. Limits the concurrent exercise of home rule powers. Effective January 1, 2025. link


HB4574—CD CORR-AGGRAVATING FACTORS Crimes Against Veteran, aggravated circumstance

Amends the Unified Code of Corrections. Provides that if the defendant committed the offense in or on the grounds of a hospital, ambulatory surgical treatment center, physician’s office, or other medical facility that treats patients and the offense was a crime of violence committed against a licensed health care professional or an employee of a hospital, ambulatory surgical treatment center, physician’s office, or other medical facility that treats patients, this factor shall be accorded weight in favor of imposing a term of imprisonment or may be considered by the court as a reason to impose a more severe sentence. link

 

HR0506—SUPPORT FAMILY CAREGIVERS Veteran Caregiver Benefits

Urges the passage of important policies to better support family caregivers, particularly by enacting policies that: (1) provide increased funding for Illinois’ Community Care Program, Home Delivered Meals, the Illinois Family Caregiver Act, Illinois Area Agencies on Aging, Illinois Case Coordination Units, Long-Term and Home Care Ombudsman, and other older adult programs and resources for Illinois caregivers at the Illinois Department on Aging and other State agencies, and examine policy changes to improve the navigability of these resources, (2) improve the inclusion of family caregivers in their loved one’s care and hospital discharge and planning, and provide them with the education, training, and support they need, including as their loved one moves from one place of care to another, in Hospital at Home programs, in Medicare more broadly, and in measures of provider engagement with and in support of family caregivers and family caregivers’ experience of care and support, and support veterans and their caregivers, (3) increase access to options and eligibility for care at home, including but not limited to providing permanent financial protections for the spouses of individuals receiving Medicaid Home and Community Based Services, incentivizing Home and Community Based Services expansion, expanding caregiver and senior support options and resources in the State’s Community Care Program, and more, (4) attract and retain direct care workers through increased pay and benefits, improved training, career pathways, and other job improvement initiatives, and (5) provide financial relief for family caregivers, such as through a family caregiver income tax credit, to help offset a portion of caregiving expenses paid by caregivers. link


HB4187—REPEAL ILLINOIS TRUST ACT Changes to Illinois ID Card

Repeals the Illinois TRUST Act. Makes corresponding changes in the Illinois Identification Card Act and the Illinois Vehicle Code. Effective immediately link


HB4677—CAREGIVER ASSISTANCE RESOURCES

Creates the Illinois Caregiver Assistance and Resource Portal Act. Requires the Department on Aging, in consultation with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to be responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Illinois Caregiver Assistance and Resource Portal (Portal). Provides that the Portal shall serve as a centralized and trusted online platform offering a wide range of resources related to caregiving, including, but not limited to: (1) information on State and federal programs, benefits, and resources on caregiving, long-term care, and at-home care for Illinois residents who are 50 years of age or older; (2) educational materials, articles, and videos on caregiving best practices; and (3) accommodations for users with different language preferences, ensuring the information is accessible to diverse audiences. Sets forth additional resources and information that the Portal may feature, such as information on caregiving resources, home and community-based services that support family caregivers, nursing home care, services and programs offered by Area Agencies on Aging, relevant health care and financial assistance programs, and local support group opportunities for caregivers. Requires the Portal to be designed to be user-friendly and accessible to individuals of all ages and abilities and to include features such as search functionality, language accessibility, and compatibility with assistive technologies to ensure that a diverse range of caregivers can use it. Contains provisions concerning required outreach and promotional campaign efforts to raise awareness of the Portal, reporting requirements, and State and federal funding for the Portal. Requires the Portal to be implemented one year after the effective date of the Act. Effective immediately. link


HB4661—PUBLIC UTILITIES-INFASTRUCTURE

Amends the Public Utilities Act. Provides that no electric utility shall establish or maintain any unreasonable difference as to rates or other charges, services, contractual terms, or facilities for access to or the use of its utility infrastructure by another person or for any other purpose. Amends the Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law of 1997. Prohibits an electric utility in a county with a population of 3,000,000 or more from authorizing any other person or granting any other person the right, by agreement, lease, license, or otherwise, to access, control, use, or operate any electric utility’s infrastructure, facilities, or assets of any kind or to deliver or provide to the electric utility’s retail customers or any other person’s customers, broadband services, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, telecommunications services, or cable or video programming services. Specifies, however, that an electric utility in a county with a population of 3,000,000 or more may authorize or grant another person the right to access or use the electric utility’s infrastructure, facilities, or assets, including, but not limited to, middle mile infrastructure, to facilitate the delivery of broadband services to Illinois residential and commercial customers on the condition that the access to and use of that electric utility’s infrastructure, facilities, and assets (A) be granted on a non-discriminatory, non-exclusive, and competitively neutral basis; and (B) comply with all other State and federal laws, rules, and regulations, including, but not limited to, all applicable safety codes and requirements. Provides that, if there is any dispute regarding the terms, rates, or conditions of access to or use of the electric utility’s infrastructure, facilities, and assets to facilitate the delivery of broadband services to Illinois residential and commercial customers, then the Commission shall hear and decide the dispute upon petition of any party. Provides that nothing in the amendatory Act shall be construed to alter or diminish the rights or obligations of any person nor shall it be deemed to conflict with the federal Pole Attachment Act. Specifies that these prohibitions become inoperative after December 31, 2027. Defines terms. Effective immediately. link


SB2950—VETS-MENTAL HLTH CASE MANAGER

Amends the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Act. Provides that a veterans case manager shall be appointed by the Director of Veterans’ Affairs, in consultation with the Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Secretary of Human Services, to assist veterans in obtaining the greatest degree of mental health care and mental health care benefits available and to promote policies that would benefit veterans seeking mental health care. Provides that the case manager shall serve at the pleasure of the Director of Veterans’ Affairs. Sets forth the duties of the veterans case manager, including, to: (i) act as an intermediary between health care facilities and veterans health care facilities; (ii) provide information to veterans and health care facilities regarding mental health services available to veterans; (iii) apply for, receive, and administer federal aids, grants, and gifts relating to inpatient mental health services for veterans; (iv) encourage physicians, nurses, and other individuals working in mental health care who have military experience to work in Illinois; and (v) collaborate with health care facilities in identifying, upon a person’s admission to a health care facility, the person’s eligibility for federal veterans benefits, including prescription drug benefits. Amends the Hospital Licensing Act. Requires the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to adopt rules requiring hospitals, upon identifying a person requiring mental health services as a veteran, to establish and implement certain protocols including (1) contacting the veterans case manager regarding the veteran’s admission, (2) identifying whether the veteran is at risk for causing harm to the veteran’s self or others, and (3) preventing the hospital from treating a veteran with less or different care than nonveteran patients solely because of a person’s veteran status. Amends the Department of Professional Regulation Law. Requires the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to establish rules requiring licensed health care professionals, as specified, to receive continuing education credits regarding the treatment of veterans as a condition of license renewal. link



HB4599—HOME MODIFICATION PROGRAM ACT

Creates the Home Modification Program Act. Provides that the purpose of the Act is to establish a home modification funding system that is streamlined, effective, and administered by experts within the disability community. Provides that, subject to appropriation, the Department of Human Services shall establish a Home Modification Program to provide financial assistance to persons with disabilities for home modification projects. Requires the Department to designate a statewide association that represents centers for independent living to serve as the lead agency to administer the program. Requires the Department to provide funding for the Program. Requires the lead agency to distribute any moneys it receives from the Department to the State’s 22 centers for independent living, covering all 102 counties. Provides that the lead agency shall ensure that each center for independent living has access to at least $105,000 to use for home modification projects, with the excess funds subject to reallocation during the 4th fiscal quarter of each year. Contains provisions concerning eligibility requirements for applicants under the Program; the lead agency’s establishment of a Home Modification Subcommittee to provide additional oversight of the home modification projects; and an administrative fee to the lead agency. link


SB3074—VEH CD-REG FEES-VETERANS-WAIVE

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the standard registration fee for passenger motor vehicles of the first division and motor vehicles of the second division weighing not more than 8,000 pounds shall be waived for any veteran who holds proof from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs of a service-connected disability. 

link


HB4757—VETS-BENEFITS NOTICE POSTER

Amends the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Act. Provides that the Department of Veterans Affairs shall create, and the Department of Labor shall make available, at no cost, a veterans and service members’ benefits, services, and protections poster. Requires the poster to include, but not be limited to, information regarding free veterans’ benefits and services provided by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and other veterans service organizations, tax benefits, the Illinois veteran driver’s license and non-driver veteran identification card, and Illinois protections for survivors of sexual violence in the military. Requires the poster to also include contact information for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs; and the Veterans Crisis Line. Effective January 1, 2025. link


HB 4761—FIREARMS-VETERANS-CARRY

Amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Provides that a veteran may acquire or possess a firearm, firearm ammunition, a stun gun, or taser without having in his or her possession a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that the unlawful use of weapons provisions and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon provisions restricting the carrying of firearms do not apply to veterans. Defines "veteran” as a person who has served in the Armed Forces of the United States or the Illinois National Guard and was discharged or separated under honorable conditions. link



 

 

Our goal Illinois the #1 veteran friendly state