LEGISLATIVE NEWS

 

Legislative Recommendations 9 March 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 #1 Claim Shark issue the new bill is SB3479 Also SB2315, HB612 & SB2700 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

 

To research any bill click  link to Illinois General Assembly Site Type in Bill number


 

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

 

 

SB2700—PROP-TX-DISABLED VETERAN Senator Morrison

Amends the Property Tax Code. In provisions concerning the homestead exemption for veterans with disabilities, provides that the exemption applies to all real property that is the primary residence of a veteran with a disability (currently, property with an equalized assessed value of less than $250,000 that is the primary residence of a veteran with a disability). Provides that, with respect to veterans with a service connected disability of 70% or more and surviving spouses of veterans whose deaths were service-connected, the first $250,000 in equalized assessed value of the property is exempt. Link


HB612REVENUE-TECH Rep Kifowit 

Replaces 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. Effective immediately.



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.


SB2751—LOCAL-DISABLED VET PERMIT FEE 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. 


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. 


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.


HB5074—MEDICAL RECORDS-COPY EXPENSE 

Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Prohibits a health care provider from charging a handling fee for providing medical records to a patient or patient’s representative if they are electronic records retrieved from a scanning, digital imaging, electronic information, or other digital format in an electronic document. Repeals the annual adjustment for the handling fee for inflation.


SB2666—MILITARY FUNERAL HONORS LEAVE - Sen Porfirio 

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. 


SB2665OMA-SERVICE MEMBER ATTENDANCE - Sen Porfirio 

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”. 


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. 


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 Servicemembers Court Treatment Act, and the Mental Health Court Treatment Act to make conforming changes. 


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. 


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 


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. 


HB4868—VETS-IMMIGRATION SERVICES

Amends the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Act. Establishes a military immigrant family legacy program within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Requires the program to be jointly developed and implemented by the Director of Veterans’ Affairs (Director) and the Adjutant General of the Department of Military Affairs, in consultation with the Department of Human Services’ Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services. Provides that the primary purpose of the program shall be to assist uniformed service members, veterans, reserve component members, and their family members to secure legal immigration status in the United States, including, but not limited to, citizenship. Provides that 2 military immigrant family legacy program coordinators shall be appointed to administer the program. Sets forth the coordinators’ duties, including, but not limited to: (1) assisting intended recipients, who may qualify for adjustment of status, special immigration status through the federal Parole in Place program, or any other sort of immigration relief, including relief that can lead to citizenship; communicating with the Director and the Adjutant General and the Department of Human Services’ Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services regarding existing policies and regulations pertaining to the needs of intended recipients and to make recommendations regarding the improvement of benefits and services to such intended recipients; and (3) developing and maintaining a clearinghouse for information and resources relating to the program as well as other federal, State, local, and nonprofit programs that may offer assistance to intended recipients in immigration matters. Requires program coordinators to submit a report to the Director and the Adjutant General on January 1, 2026 and each January 1 thereafter that provides a description and evaluation of the coordinators’ activities for the preceding calendar year as well as any recommendations for future programmatic changes. Requires the Director and the Adjutant General to jointly submit the report on an annual basis to the Governor and the General Assembly. Makes conforming changes to the Department of Human Services Act and the Military Code of Illinois.


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.

 

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.


HR0506SUPPORT 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. 


HB5640VETERANS-SPACE FORCE

Amends the Statute on Statutes. Provides that whenever there is a reference in any Act to "armed forces”, "armed forces of the United States”, "U.S. Armed Forces”, "United States Armed Forces”, or "uniformed services”, these terms shall be construed to include the United States Space Force. Amends the Flag Display Act, the Secretary of State Merit Employment Code, the Veterans Preference Act, the Veterans Burial Places Act, and various other Acts. In all occurrences of the definition for "armed forces of the United States” and "member of the Armed Services or Reserve Forces of the United States” expands the list of armed forces branches to include the Space Force. Makes conforming changes in the definition of "veteran” under the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Law, in the definition of "military service” under the Illinois Pension Code, and in a provision under the Veterans Burial Places Act that lists the various military branches that make up the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Makes other conforming changes.


HB5653VETERANS’ SERVICES TASK FORCE

Amends the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Act. Reenacts a provision concerning the Veterans’ Service-Related Ailments Task Force repealed by Public Act 102-417. Changes the name of the Veterans’ Service-Related Ailments Task Force to the Veterans’ Services Task Force. Changes the frequency of Task Force meetings to at least twice a year and at any other times the Task Force deems necessary. Requires the Task Force to submit its report to the Governor and the General Assembly by December 31, 2025. Repeals the provisions creating the Task Force on December 31, 2026. Effective immediately.


SB2674PROCUREMENT-VETERAN PREF

Amends the Illinois Procurement Code. Provides that the certification of service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and veteran-owned small businesses is an exclusive power and function of the State. Denies home rule powers. Effective immediately.


HB5655VETERANS’ SERVICES TASK FORCE

Amends the Public Higher Education Act. Provides that the governing board of each public institution of higher education shall adopt a policy to allow a student who is a member of the National Guard of any state, the District of Columbia, a commonwealth, or a territory of the United States or any reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States to submit classwork and complete any other class assignments missed due to the student participating in a drill required as a member of the National Guard or the reserve component


WE OPPOSE HB4680 VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS

Amends the Veteran Service Organizations State Charter Act. Changes the name of the Act to the Veteran Service Organizations Equal Act. Provides that a veteran service organization shall be considered to have veteran service organization status (rather than shall be considered state chartered) WE OPPOSE

 

 

Our goal Illinois the #1 veteran friendly state