State of Illinois General Assembly
Inclusion of legislation in this report is for informational purposes only. Inclusion does not imply endorsement of, support of, or opposition to any particular piece of legislation by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
102nd Illinois General Assembly – legislation passed in the 2021 Spring Legislative Session:
House Bill 20 – Gold Star License Plates – Family Members
HB 20 provides that no registration fee for a Gold Star license plate shall be required of a surviving widow, widower, or parent of a deceased member of the Armed Forces if that member lost his or her life while in service while in wartime (instead of "in peacetime or war").
This bill passed both chambers of the legislature, has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0106.
House Bill 282 - Veterans' Assistance Commission – Legal opinions from County State's Attorneys
Provides that, in a county with less than 2,000,000 people, and upon receipt of a written request by the superintendent of the county Veterans Assistance Commission (VAC), the County State's Attorney now has discretionary authority to render an opinion, without fee or reward, on any legal question related to a VAC matter. Provides that the State's Attorney shall have the discretion to grant or decline these requests.
This bill passed both chambers of the legislature, has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0056.
House Bill 1290
HB 1290 expands the state definition of honorable discharge to include veterans who were discharged due to sexuality or gender identity. Under the now defunct federal Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans were prohibited from serving in the armed forces. According to military data, over 13,000 enlisted members of the LGBTQ community were discharged while the policy was in effect.
The new legislation opens the door for impacted veterans to upgrade their service records to an honorable status under state law, entitling them to benefits like medical care and a military burial. Service members who received a bad conduct discharge or were dishonorably discharged due to reasons other than their sexuality or gender identity are not impacted by HB 1290.
HB 1290 is effective January 1, 2022. This bill passed both chambers of the legislature, has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0382.
House Bill 1815 – Veterans' Service-Related Ailments Task Force
In 2019, the Illinois General Assembly created the Veterans' Service-Related Ailments Task Force. The sponsor wished to make changes to the leadership before the task force started. HB 1815 makes the leadership changes to the task force and changes the start date to the task force.
HB 1815 is effective immediately. The bill passed both chambers of the legislature, was signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0417.
House Bill 1915 – Decals for Illinois License Plates
HB 1915 allows the IDVA to create Fold of Honor decals for Illinois license plates. Drivers interested in receiving a Fold of Honor decal will be required to pay a first-time issuance cost of $25, $10 of which will go to the Folds of Honor Foundation Fund and the remaining $15 will go to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund.
This bill will go into effect January 1, 2022. It passed both chambers of the legislature, has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0383.
House Bill 2776 - Professional license applications
HB 2776 requires the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to expedite professional license applications submitted by service members or their spouses within thirty days of receiving all required documentation. This updated process will help ease the transition process when a service family relocates as members and their spouses frequently hold licenses for professions including nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry.
The newly signed law also updates state statute regarding licensure requirements. Going forward, applications for licensure must include proof that the applicant meets the requirements and standards for the occupation or profession they're applying for.
HB 2776 is effective January 1, 2022. This bill passed both chambers of the legislature, has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0384.
House Bill 2894 – Veterans' Gardening Day
HB 2894 designates the first Saturday in May as Veterans Gardening Day. The day will be used to honor and commemorate Illinois veterans.
HB 2894 is effective January 1, 2022. This bill passed both chambers of the legislature, has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0385.
House Bill 3255 – Veteran Service Officers – Job Requirements
House Bill 3255 requires all DVA service officers and supervisors within the field division be honorably discharged and modifies statutory language to be gender neutral.
This bill is effective January 1, 2022. It passed both chambers of the legislature, was signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0467.
House Bill 3515 – This law allows that if a post, camp, unit, chapter, ship, or detachment of a military veterans organization serves more than one county, then it is permitted to select one delegate and one alternate for the Veterans Assistance Commission in each county in which at least 25% of its members reside.
HB 3515 is effective immediately. It was passed by both chambers, signed into law by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0484.
House Bill 3865 – Consumer Protection
HB 3865 establishes additional consumer protections to protect service members and veterans. Championed by the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Attorney General's Office, the new law requires private companies that advertise veterans' and service members' benefits appeal services to publicly disclose the same services are available free of charge through county veterans' services officers and other governmental agencies.
HB 3865 is effective January 1, 2022. This bill passed both chambers of the legislature and has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0386.
House Resolution 62
HR 62 Directs the Illinois Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of the State's response to the management of the COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans' Home.
This resolution was passed by the Illinois House and adopted April 28, 2021.
Senate Bill 505 – State Flag and Illinois National Guard
SB 505 amends the military code, allowing family members or next of kin to be presented with a state flag in the event a member of the Illinois National Guard dies while on state active duty or in training status under the authority of the Governor.
This bill passed both chambers of the legislature and has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0387.
Senate Bill 687 – Small Business
SB 687 is a procurement-related bill that requires the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to submit an annual report concerning certifications issued to veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The bill requires CMS to conduct 2 outreach events/year to ensure veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses know about procurement opportunities and certification requirements with the State. Provides that CMS, in consultation with IDVA, may develop programs and agreements to encourage cities, counties, towns, townships, and other certifying entities to adopt uniform certification procedures and certification recognition programs. Provides that a business shall be certified by CMS if CMS determines that the business has been certified as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business or a veteran-owned small business by the Vets First Verification Program of the USDVA.
This bill passed both chambers of the legislature and has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0166.
Senate Bill 1533 – Veteran Trapping License Exemption
SB 1533 allows a veteran who is certified by DVA to be at least 10% disabled or who is in receipt of total disability pension to trap, as permitted by the Code, without procuring a trapping license. SB 1533 is effective immediately. This bill was passed by both chambers, signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0524.
Senate Bill 2089 – Display of flags at State parks
SB 2089 requires the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to fly a United States flag, an Illinois Flag, and a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flag at all State parks within five years. To help cover costs related to the initiative, groups and individuals can make donations to the Department's Special Projects Fund.
SB 2089 will take 5 years to be fully implemented. This bill passed both chambers of the legislature, has been signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0388.
Senate Bill 2250 – IDVA Home Fund Reporting
SB 2250 amends the Department of Veterans' Affairs Act to require more frequent reporting of the IDVA Home Funds.
SB 2250 is effective January 1, 2022. It was passed by both chambers of the legislature, signed by the Governor and is now Public Act - 102-0549.
These links are the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees bill lists: