VFW Legislative report


14 September

The VFW department Illinois made great use of our resolution process at the national convention. Most  of our resolutions passed at the national convention.

 Of great concern to me was the resolution on the guard/reserve retiree act. This resolution would give veteran status to retired guard/reserve members.  This resolution came about as a result of our efforts to admit the guard reserve retirees into our state veterans homes. The VA advised that they would not pay Per diem for those who do not possess a DD form 214 with active duty. This resulted in our resolution to ask Congress to give title 38 status, veteran status to guard reserve retirees who did not have a DD 214. These patriots served 20+ years serving on active duty for training or state active duty. They are veterans and the national convention agreed. Please when speaking to your congressman or our senators urge them to support veteran status for Guard and reserve retirees.

 27 August

The honor the pact act has been signed by the president and provide presumptives for the exposure to the burn pits this is major legislation that equals the agent orange presumptive for Vietnam veterans.

The next major legislation for veterans is the major Richard Starr act which would allow military retirees to receive both retirement pay and their disability pay regardless of their time in  service.

Illinois State legislation
This past year we had great success in Illinois with 10 out of our 13 bills being passed.  I am most proud of the amendment to disabled veterans Homestead exemption to include surviving spouses.

On July 24 we officially opened the medal of honor Highway, US Highway 21 unveiling the signage from IDOT.

We may have a special session in September in regards to the shooting incident at Highland Park otherwise we will have a veto session in November.

We are watching for legislation in regards to the VAC Cook County and a definition for a State Charter veterans organization .  I have spoken to members of the house veterans affairs committee and the attorney generals office that the VFW has input on the definition for a state charter association.

On August 29 the Lake County Forest Preserve District will address the transfer of 4.7 acres to the Fort Sheridan national cemetery. The VA has made request for this transfer which will extend the life of the cemetery to 50 years this is not a done deal and we have a large contention of veterans to attend the August 29 meeting.

The Sangamon county VAC is working on a resolution requesting a super CBOC for the county similar to what is in Peoria. 

The legislative committee vice chair Dutch DeGroot is working on training for District and post legislative officers to do witness slips to support bills when A hearing is called and in  talking with District Staff for State senators and representatives to cosponsor bills. The committee will be reminding our comrades that few elected officials are veterans and fewer staff members are veterans and that they are the subject matter experts for them when it comes to veterans legislation.