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Legislative report January 2024
Some positive things are happening for our veterans community in Illinois Since our last report. We shall have three different items Upcoming State Legislative items, Illinois Veterans Advisory Council (IVAC), and a short report on the Veterans Assistance Commission of Cook County. Also we urge everyone to attend Veterans Legislation Day Wednesday 13 March in Springfield which Department Adjutant/Quartermaster Joe Bartley is organizing.
• State Claims Sharks provision is in the works which we hope is introduced in the next session. This would be a simple amending of our current stature 815 ILCS 505 Sec 2YYY with language that could find those taking illegal advantage of veterans accountable to penalties under Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act - Reliefs and Penalties Section - 815 ILCS 505 7. We are very thankful for the outstanding support of our legislative partners and the Attorney Generals Military and Veterans Rights Bureau staff. As we submit this report legislation is being drafted and shll be introduced.
Please keep in mind that those that feel defrauded must themselves file a complaint to the Attorney Generals Military and Veterans Rights Bureau. 1-800-382-3000 MVRB@ilag.gov
• Veterans Homestead Tax Exemption Two major items are being addressed, the definition clarification of honorably discharged and those with a general discharge under honorable conditions. Also the assessment cap of $250,000 which if over that the veteran will loose the benefit. The current bill is SB2315 introduced by Senator Porfirio. You maybe aware that the last bill addressing this was vetoed by a technicality and wasn’t moved forward in the veto session. As we submit this report there is no movement either way. Your legislative team shall be proactive to get resolution.
We shall need witness slips to move these out of committee when the time comes. You can make a difference!
Comrades Always keep in mind YOU & YOUR FAMILIES make these suggestions become law and we need to be a strong united team. Get to know your local legislators County, State & Federal. Make sure you become familiar with witness slips https://vfwil.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp?pid=116303 this is a vital tool that only takes a moment to fill out and goes a long ways to get bills introduced.
Illinois Veterans Advisory Council
The VFW Department of Illinois is an active member of the IVAC as are the other major veteran service organizations as well as key legislators & representative from the Attorney Generals Military and Veterans Rights Bureau. There was a meeting of the IVAC 13 December 2023 here are some highlight bullets. Continued:
• The subject of the Veterans Homestead exemption SB2315 was front and center.
• There was discussion on a gold star license plate data base.
• The IDVA veterans service officer update as they are approaching 60 statewide.
• There was also detailed discussion of our IDVA veterans homes. In all cases getting employees is very difficult. The Chicago Home is up to 50 residents and much remodeling taking place.
• There was also detailed discussion of our veterans homes. In all cases getting employees is very difficult. Chicago Home is up to 50 residents and much remodeling taking place.
• VFW brought up the Claim Shark national bill and also our attempts to modify relevant statute is Section 2YYY "Deceptive practices targeting veterans and military members” of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/2YYY). Point is there is no liability for claim sharks at this point.
• Discussion about day care drop off at IDVA homes and other outlets to allow caregivers some relief for a day. This is already being taken up by the IDVA and was warmly received. This concept was introduced by Mike Peck some time ago.
• VFW 13 March Veterans Legislative Day in Springfield and gave VFW Adjutant/Quartermaster Joe Bartley’s information as a POC.
• The next meeting of the IVAC shall be in March.
Veterans Assistance Commission of Cook County
Although we have many VAC’s in Illinois and this is VAC Chairman Doug Jamison’s mission the VACCC services the largest veterans population in Illinois (est 175,000-over 200,00) and has it’s own perplexities so that will be part of this report.
The history of the VACCC is that we the veterans community for years where not doing our proper job of oversight and the commission was underfunded and not performing as it should for the good of veterans in Cook County. For the last two years with the involvement of veterans service organizations, there has been a unprecedented turn around.
18 October 2023 Veterans from many organizations including Commander Nila plus all three District Commanders Chris Garza 3rd, Eric Morales 4th, Bill Browne 16th with post in Cook County testified before the County Board to persuade them to adequately fund the VACCC.
16 November 2023 there was the vote for budget from the Cook County board of which the VFW gave a testimony. A sizable increase to the VACCC’s budget was voted on at this meeting.
26 December 2023 the VACCC had their quarterly meeting and 33 different veterans organizations were in attendance, The positive meeting highlighted the transparency of the VACCC and issues needing immediate attention. The main items of concern where the lack of help from Cook County with IT and HR support. Currently the VACCC is forced to use a web page on the VFW 4th District Site www.vfwildist4.org. The VACCC is unable to hire staff due to lack of communication from the Human Relations Department of Cook County
9 January 2024 VFW chairman met with Veterans Committee Chair Commissioner Miller to express thanks for budget but express concerns that a budget couldn’t be effective if no one could be hired or services marketed properly. At this time of this report there has been significant headway.
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Other items/updates are posted on the department site www.vfwil.org
Our goal Illinois the #1 veteran friendly state
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