Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB2179
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Full Text of HB2179  95th General Assembly


Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia

Filed: 4/24/2007





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2     AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 2179 by replacing
3 everything after the enacting clause with the following:
4     "Section 5. The Department of Veterans Affairs Act is
5 amended by changing Section 2 as follows:
6     (20 ILCS 2805/2)  (from Ch. 126 1/2, par. 67)
7     Sec. 2. Powers and duties.
8     (a) The Department shall have the following powers and
9 duties:
10     To perform such acts at the request of any veteran, or his
11 or her spouse, surviving spouse or dependents as shall be
12 reasonably necessary or reasonably incident to obtaining or
13 endeavoring to obtain for the requester any advantage, benefit
14 or emolument accruing or due to such person under any law of
15 the United States, the State of Illinois or any other state or
16 governmental agency by reason of the service of such veteran,



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1 and in pursuance thereof shall:
2         (1) Contact veterans, their survivors and dependents
3     and advise them of the benefits of state and federal laws
4     and assist them in obtaining such benefits;
5         (2) Establish field offices and direct the activities
6     of the personnel assigned to such offices;
7         (3) Create a volunteer field force of accredited
8     representatives, representing educational institutions,
9     labor organizations, veterans organizations, employers,
10     churches, and farm organizations;
11         (4) Conduct informational and training services;
12         (5) Conduct educational programs through newspapers,
13     periodicals and radio for the specific purpose of
14     disseminating information affecting veterans and their
15     dependents;
16         (6) Coordinate the services and activities of all state
17     departments having services and resources affecting
18     veterans and their dependents;
19         (7) Encourage and assist in the coordination of
20     agencies within counties giving service to veterans and
21     their dependents;
22         (8) Cooperate with veterans organizations and other
23     governmental agencies;
24         (9) Make, alter, amend and promulgate reasonable rules
25     and procedures for the administration of this Act;
26         (10) Make and publish annual reports to the Governor



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1     regarding the administration and general operation of the
2     Department;
3         (11) Encourage the State to implement more programs to
4     address the wide range of issues faced by Persian Gulf War
5     Veterans, especially those who took part in combat, by
6     creating an official commission to further study Persian
7     Gulf War Diseases. The commission shall consist of 9
8     members appointed as follows: the Speaker and Minority
9     Leader of the House of Representatives and the President
10     and Minority Leader of the Senate shall each appoint one
11     member from the General Assembly, the Governor shall
12     appoint 4 members to represent veterans' organizations,
13     and the Department shall appoint one member. The commission
14     members shall serve without compensation; and
15         (12) Conduct an annual review of the benefits received
16     by Illinois veterans that compares benefits received by
17     Illinois veterans with the benefits received by veterans in
18     all other states and U.S. territories. The required annual
19     review shall include, but not be limited to, (1) the
20     average benefit paid to individual veterans from Illinois,
21     in direct comparison to the average benefit paid to
22     individual veterans of each of the other states and U.S.
23     territories; (2) the number of veterans receiving benefits
24     in Illinois for the first time during the year compared to
25     the number of claims filed by Illinois veterans during the
26     year; (3) the aggregate number of Illinois veterans



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1     receiving benefits compared to the number of veterans from
2     each of the other states and U.S. territories receiving
3     benefits; and (4) a categorical analysis of the types of
4     injuries and disabilities for which benefits are being paid
5     in Illinois and each of the other states and U.S.
6     territories. The benefits review shall be reported to the
7     Governor, the General Assembly, and the Illinois
8     Congressional delegation upon the completion of the report
9     each year.
10     (b) The Department shall create and administer a suicide
11 prevention program for veterans of the armed forces, including
12 redeployed veterans of the Illinois National Guard. The program
13 shall become operational within 100 days after the effective
14 date of this amendatory Act of the 95th General Assembly. The
15 program's primary goal shall be to address and reduce the
16 incidence of suicide and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
17 among veterans of the military and the National Guard
18 (hereinafter, "veterans").
19     The program shall provide the following:
20         (1) Public education and awareness programs directed
21     at veterans, the families of veterans, health care
22     professionals, mental health professionals, and the
23     public, focusing on recognizing the signs, symptoms, and
24     behavioral patterns of those at risk of committing suicide
25     and those suffering from PTSD.
26         (2) Psychiatric, psychological, or other appropriate



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1     mental health care services to veterans at risk of suicide.
2         (3) Referral services to appropriate mental health
3     care services for veterans afflicted by PTSD.
4         (4) Any other services the Director of the Department
5     deems appropriate for addressing and reducing the
6     incidence of suicide and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
7     among veterans.
8     The Director of the Department shall submit an annual
9 report to the members of the General Assembly no later than
10 June 15 of each year, outlining the program's activities from
11 the preceding year.
12     The Department of Military Affairs shall disseminate
13 information regarding the suicide prevention program
14 established pursuant to this subsection to all redeployed
15 members of the Illinois National Guard within 72 hours after
16 their redeployment.
17     (c) The Department may accept and hold on behalf of the
18 State, if for the public interest, a grant, gift, devise or
19 bequest of money or property to the Department made for the
20 general benefit of Illinois veterans, including the conduct of
21 informational and training services by the Department and other
22 authorized purposes of the Department. The Department shall
23 cause each grant, gift, devise or bequest to be kept as a
24 distinct fund and shall invest such funds in the manner
25 provided by the Public Funds Investment Act, as now or
26 hereafter amended, and shall make such reports as may be



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1 required by the Comptroller concerning what funds are so held
2 and the manner in which such funds are invested. The Department
3 may make grants from these funds for the general benefit of
4 Illinois veterans. Grants from these funds, except for the
5 funds established under Sections 2.01a and 2.03, shall be
6 subject to appropriation.
7     (d) The Department has the power to make grants, from funds
8 appropriated from the Korean War Veterans National Museum and
9 Library Fund, to private organizations for the benefit of the
10 Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library.
11     (e) The Department has the power to make grants, from funds
12 appropriated from the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, for
13 benefits authorized under the Survivors Compensation Act.
14 (Source: P.A. 93-839, eff. 7-30-04; 94-167, eff. 1-1-06.)".