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Veterans

  • Bertino-Tarrant plan to help veterans start a business gets governor’s approval

    jbt vetloanSPRINGFIELD— Legislation that will help veterans become business owners was signed into law Friday by the governor. 

    Senate Bill 324, sponsored by Bertino-Tarrant, will create a program at the Illinois Finance Authority that would allow veterans to apply and receive a business loan. The program will be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the State Treasurer.

    “Despite having leadership abilities and valuable skills from their time in the service, fewer and fewer veterans have the opportunity to go into business for themselves,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to have programs in place that help veterans become business owners. This initiative is a key part of giving our veterans the resources they need to own a business, create jobs for others and fulfill their potential.”

  • Tom Cullerton and task force members to continue open hearings on Veterans’ Suicide Prevention

    053016CM0641RVILLA PARK - According to a recent U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs study, 22 veterans commit suicide every day in this country.

    To stop this alarming trend, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) and the Task Force on Veterans’ Suicide will hear from veterans, health care professionals and community groups to investigate the causes to and prevention of suicides among returning Illinois veterans.

    “Every life we save will have an everlasting impact on families across our community and nation,” Cullerton said. “Our mission is clear: we need to reduce all statistics to zero suicides.”

  • Martinez passes resolution calling for deported veterans to come home

    martinez 060616SPRINGFIELD — Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is continuing her push for deported veterans to be returned home to the United States.

    Martinez passed a resolution out of the Senate last week encouraging the President of the United States and members of Congress to return veterans who have been deported to their families and communities in the United States.

    “We need to end immoral deportation policies and allow our veterans, who are American heroes, to be reunited with their family members,” Martinez said.

    The deportation of veterans is a topic that has drawn attention nationwide in the media, sparking outrage and prompting mobilization of veterans’ advocates.

    After fighting for our nation, many veterans struggle to integrate back into society and can develop substance abuse issues and legal problems. Some of these veterans, despite having legal permanent residence prior to serving in the armed forces, are deported to Mexico.

    “Better support systems need to be in place for our veterans when they come home,” Martinez said. “After everything our service members do to keep us safe and secure, we owe them the resources they need for a smooth transition into civilian life.”

    Martinez recently met with veterans and advocates in the Capitol who are supporting her resolution.

  • Hastings urges Congress to protect undocumented veterans

    hastings 053116SPRINGFIELD – Undocumented veterans currently struggle with the citizenship process, and a resolution introduced by Senator Hastings would urge Congress to reform that process.

    “All veterans risk their lives to protect our freedoms. As a veteran I find it appalling that our government is currently deporting veterans,” Hastings said. “If anything the government should be actively working to help those undocumented veterans on the path to citizenship and expedite their path.”

    Many veterans return home and struggle to integrate back into normal life. Some veterans who had legal permanent residence though were deported after returning to the United States.

    Senate Resolution 1913 recognizes the risks many undocumented veterans undertook in serving the United States. It also urges the United States Congress to pass the Restoring Respect for Immigrant Service in Uniform Act, HR 5012.

    HR 5012 would prevent the deportation of veterans who have not committed a felony or significant misdemeanor. It also urges the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to allow veterans to be re-admitted to the United States if they have not committed a serious crime.

    The resolution is currently under consideration in the Senate.

  • Martinez, Munoz: Allow deported veterans to come home (VIDEO)

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  • Haine works to create Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Loan Program

    haine vetloanSPRINGFIELD— Legislation that would help veterans become business owners was passed out of the Illinois Senate Thursday.

    The measure, Senate Bill 324, would create a program at the Illinois Finance Authority that would allow veterans to apply and receive a business loan. The program would be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the state treasurer.

    State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), who is the chief co-sponsor of the measure, said that this initiative would help veterans to receive start-up capital they need to start their own businesses.

    “This legislation would create a great program to help those who have served our country. There are so many veterans out there who face adversity when they return from service,” Haine said. “These are people who have great leadership skills, yet lack the resources to funnel those skills into a career that works for them. This measure would provide that avenue. I am happy to be a sponsor of this initiative, and I am happy be able to give back to the veteran community.”

    Today, less than 7 percent of returning veterans own their own businesses.

    Nearly 550 service members transition from military to civilian life each day, and an estimated 1 million veterans will settle into communities across our country within the next three to five years. This plan would help veterans readjust.

    The measure was introduced by Senator Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). It passed the Senate on Thursday and will now go to the House for consideration.

  • Bertino-Tarrant legislation creates Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Loan Program

    jbt vetloanSPRINGFIELD— Legislation that would help veterans become business owners was passed out of the Illinois Senate today by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    “There are many veterans who heroically serve our nation, gain valuable leadership and management skills yet can have a hard time starting a new career when they come home,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “My plan would help our veterans get the start-up capital they need to start their own businesses and create jobs for others.”

    Bertino-Tarrant is working on her proposal with Lynn Lowder, a former Marine officer and advocate for veterans becoming small-business owners.

    “In the nine years following World War II, 50 percent of veterans ended up in business for themselves,” Lowder said. “Unfortunately, fewer veterans now are able to start a business. This initiative is the key missing piece that would give our veterans the tools they need to become entrepreneurs.”

    Today, less than seven percent of returning veterans own their own businesses.

    Nearly 550 service members transition from military to civilian life each day, and an estimated 1 million veterans will settle into communities across our country within the next three to five years.

    “When our veterans come home, we need to make sure our veterans have the full support of our state as their service deserves,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

    Bertino-Tarrant is sponsoring Senate Bill 324 that would create a program at the Illinois Finance Authority that would allow veterans to apply and receive a business loan. The program would be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the State Treasurer.

    Bertino-Tarrant advanced Senate Bill 324 out of the Illinois Senate today. It will now go to the Illinois House for approval.

  • Haine honors deceased veteran with highway dedication

    haine 040516SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) adopted a resolution Wednesday in honor of Lance Corporal Kenneth Corzine. Corzine served in Afghanistan where he passed away due to wounds received in battle.

    The resolution designates a part of Illinois Route 140 from North Bellwood Drive to Prairie Street in Bethalto as the “LCpl. Kenneth Corzine Memorial Drive.”

    “This young man gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country,” Haine said. “He would have been 29 today, and it is an honor to pay tribute to him in this way. Our fallen soldiers deserve our utmost respect, gratitude and appreciation. I hope that by dedicating this portion of highway to this fallen soldier, it will serve as a reminder to all who drive on it what a patriot he was and the service he gave to our country.”

    Corzine enlisted in the United State Marine Corps on August 1, 2007. He served as a rifleman with the 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Company L in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was awarded with a Purple Heart as well as the Combat Action Ribbon.

    LCpl. Corzine was injured during battle on December 5, 2010 and later succumbed to the wounds he received.

    The resolution was adopted by the Senate on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

    Read the full resolution.

  • Sen. Link fights for surviving spouses of veterans

    link042116SPRINGFIELD—Surviving spouses of Illinois veterans would benefit from an extended property tax exemption under legislation sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills).

    “Veterans put their lives on the line to defend our country. Their families also are a part of that sacrifice, and we should be there for them as well,” Link said.

    Senate Bill 3042 would extend the property tax exemption to all surviving spouses of veterans who would have been eligible for the property tax exemption as long as the spouse is the property owner, is their permanent residence and does not remarry.

    “Protecting the families of those who defend our country should be a top priority of this General Assembly. We need to continue to honor our veterans and help their families even when our service members are gone,” Link said.

    The legislation moves on to the House for further consideration.

  • Munoz eases process for obtaining college credit for military courses

    munoz vets 042116SPRINGFIELD – When Jauwan Hall, a former Marine, transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago from Kennedy-King College he was unaware that the same military courses wouldn’t be counted toward his degree, and he would have to retake the classes.

    “There was no mechanism in place to designate those courses as UIC courses so there’s no mechanism that tells people in the registrar’s office that this course is equivalent to this course,” Hall said. “There were people at the university who were aware of the issue and were trying to work with the university to implement something university-wide.”

    “But after having some conversations with administrators and other students it made sense to try to get something done legislatively because this is an issue that could be affecting veterans at a bunch of different state universities.”

    State Senator Antonio “Tony” Munoz (D-Chicago) proposed legislation approved by the Senate today that requires the state’s public universities and community colleges to develop a policy for awarding college credit for military courses.

    “There should be a clear policy for accepting military courses into our university system,” said Munoz, an Army veteran. “Veterans should not be shortchanged on the education they received while serving our country.”

    Schools would use the Joint Services Transcript, a synchronized transcript presenting data for the United States Army, Marine Corp, Navy and Coast Guard, to determine areas where college credit is applicable and interpret the number of hours the institution would credit.

    Senate Bill 2960 will now head to the House for consideration.

  • Munoz helps service members get college credit for military courses

    munoz vets 041216SPRINGFIELD - Service members looking to obtain college credit for military courses may soon have an easier process when transferring credits to a public university or community college in Illinois, under a Senate plan that was approved in committee today.

    The proposal, which passed the higher education committee unanimously, requires the state’s public universities and community colleges to develop a written policy for awarding college credit for military courses taken through the Armed Forces.

  • New legislation gives veterans paid time off for Veterans Day

    mulroe vets holidaySPRINGFIELD – As many state and federal workers prepare for a work holiday on Wednesday to support Veterans Day, many veterans do not have the option to take the day off created in their honor. Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago) is looking to change that.

    “Every year, men and women who fought hard for our country’s freedom are required to work a holiday that was created specifically to honor them,” Mulroe says. “That’s just not right, and I think that as a state Illinois can better serve the people who served in the armed forces.”

    Under the new legislation, veterans would have the option of taking the November holiday off if they otherwise would have had to work, receiving paid leave. Their employers would need a documented request for the absence. Only Oregon and Iowa currently have similar laws; Minnesota and the U.S. Congress are currently considering similar measures.

    “This proposal is a win-win situation, because it doesn’t require a veteran to take the day off, but empowers them through state statute to do so if they wish,” Mulroe says. “We are also looking to protect the employers by placing safeguards in, making this pro-veteran and pro-business.”

    Employees who are veterans would not have to take the holiday off; however, they would be required to give 30 calendar days’ notice to their employer that they intend to take the time off and would be required to provide documentation to the employer that they are indeed a veteran.

    If the employer would not be able to award the time off due to significant economic or operational disruption, the employer would need to notify the employee within 14 calendar days prior to the holiday and make a good faith effort to award an alternate paid vacation day. In addition, the legislation would create a tax credit for employers for 100 percent of wages paid.

    The measure was introduced in the Senate on October 20.

  • Senators reflect on Veterans Day

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  • Koehler: let veterans participate in Veterans Day

    koehler veteransPEORIA – As Veterans Day approaches, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is urging employers to honor his resolution from last year’s General Assembly and allow veteran employees some time off to participate in ceremonies and events honoring their service to our country.

    “Our veterans have given so much to our nation, and it’s important that they’re able to participate in area events on Veterans Day,” Koehler said.

    Koehler sponsored Senate Resolution 837 in response to a constituent who expressed concerns that not all employers allow veterans time off on Veterans Day.

    “I would like to thank Jim Arrowood from the UAW for initiating this resolution,” Koehler said.

    Area veterans have joined Koehler and Arrowood in supporting the resolution.

    “I feel strongly that veterans should be afforded the opportunity to participate in different parades and ceremonies honoring their fellow veterans,” said Scott Corsaut, Commander of the General Wayne A. Downing American Legion Post #1111. “Veterans truly appreciate the community support and fellowship they experience at these events.”

    Senator Koehler also wants to let the community know that the Illinois Valley Chapter of the Fuller Center for Housing is assisting low-income veterans with small home repairs and furnace safety checks. The center is now taking applications and is encouraging veterans to call (309) 363-3737 to see if they qualify.

    “This is a great service being provided by the Illinois Valley Chapter of the Fuller Center for Housing, and I encourage veterans to apply,” Koehler said.

  • Haine, Beiser host Metro-East veterans fair

    Haine Vets fair 1EDWARDSVILLE – Metro East veterans came together to learn about job opportunities, educational options and benefits during a veterans resource fair Thursday.

    State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Representative Dan Beiser (D-Alton) hosted the fair at Edwardsville American Legion Post 199 to give area veterans the opportunity to access multiple state, local and federal resources in one convenient location.

    “All veterans should be fully aware of the tools and services they have earned through their service. This fair had opportunities for both younger veterans looking for education and career resources and older veterans who may need assistance with benefits,” Haine said.

    "There are a variety of different services and opportunities available to veterans, and our goal throughout the Veterans Resource Fair was to bring as much of that as possible to a central location.  Our military heroes deserve to know about their rights as veterans, as well as the different services that they have access to,” Beiser said.

    The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Madison County Veterans Assistance Commission and the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs provided information and assisted veterans who had questions about local, state and federal programs.

    The Illinois Attorney General’s office and Madison County Recorder Amy Meyer gave veterans information on fraud prevention and legal services.

    Representatives from Lewis and Clark Community College, Southwestern Illinois College and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission talked to veterans about special programs and scholarships for former service members.

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security provided employment information and resources for job seekers. Members of IBEW Local 649 were also on hand to tell veterans about apprenticeship opportunities.

    “I appreciate the Edwardsville American Legion Post 199 for opening its doors for this event,” Haine said.

  • Bertino-Tarrant works to help community members find jobs

    jbtjobfairJOLIET — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) partnered with the Illinois Department of Employment Security to hold a successful hiring fair this week.

    “Job fairs are important for connecting employers with community members who are looking for work,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I enjoyed meeting those who attended, and I look forward to having future events that will help people obtain employment.”

    More than 50 people showed up to meet with representatives from participating businesses. The first hour of the hiring fair catered specifically to veterans.

    “Our veterans have loyally served our nation, and I’m committed to doing what I can to make sure they’re employed,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

    Details on Bertino-Tarrant’s upcoming events are on her website.

  • Veterans thank Link, Mayfield for property tax support

    link vets awdsWadsworth, Illinois - State Senator Terry Link was honored recently by a group of veterans’ organizations for his steady commitment to those who have served in the military.  Link was recognized on Friday, September 25, for his sponsorship of Senate Bill 107, a measure that expands the Disabled American Veterans Homestead Exemption. This legislation protects veterans from property tax hikes after home improvements for accessibility.

    “I’m thrilled to spend time with our beloved men and women in uniform. I thank members of the American Legion, VFW, DAV, AmVets and the Reserve Officers’ Association for their friendship and the awards,” Sen. Link said. “I proudly sponsored SB 107 to protect our veterans from an additional burden for building the accessibility features they need to do their day-to-day activities.

    Senator Link served as the Sub-chairperson of the State Government and Veterans Affairs in the 97th General Assembly.


    PHOTO: Al Lynch, Medal of Honor Recipient and Assistant Superintendent Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County thanked  State Representative Rita Mayfield and State Senator Terry Link

  • Hastings, Cullerton support suicide prevention

    AFSP SPWAccording to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, over 40,000 suicides were reported in 2013. This places suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

    September 6-12 is designated Suicide Prevention Week to help spread awareness about the severity of this issue and put a stop to the steady increase in yearly suicide rates.

    The Illinois Senate recently passed legislation focused on preventing youth suicide, and it was signed into law on August 21. The sponsor of the legislation, Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park), initiated the plan after a traumatic local experience.

  • Kids, cocktails, corn: new laws, Fall 2015 edition

    new laws 0915With this year’s main session of the General Assembly over, Illinois has several new laws that could make a significant impact on your daily life.

    If you have kids, enjoy after-work cocktails or are a veteran, you should definitely check out our list of the most important and interesting new laws that took effect this summer.

  • Tom Cullerton selected to serve on Veteran Suicide Task Force

    tcull vets suicideVILLA PARK- A study released this year by Federal Department of Veterans Affairs and Army researchers suggests that the suicide risk for returning veterans who served in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is significantly higher — 41 percent to 61 percent higher — than for the general population.

    To find ways to combat this epidemic, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has been appointed to the Illinois Veteran Suicide Task Force. As a veteran himself, Cullerton has a good perspective on issues facing many returning military members.     

    “Our veterans have risked their lives and made sacrifices to protect our freedoms and democracy,” said Cullerton. “When they return home, it’s our duty to find ways to look out for them.”

    The Illinois Veteran Suicide Task Force was formed by a measure Cullerton led in 2014. The task force will investigate the causes of veteran suicide, form policy recommendations and report back to the General Assembly.

    The Federal Department of Veterans Affairs and Army state that 10% to 18% of returning veterans are likely to have Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after they return. Some studies suggest that suicide risk is higher among those who experienced trauma due to the symptoms of PTSD.

    “It’s our duty to help veterans transition back into civilian life,” Cullerton said. “Our hope is we will learn more and implement programs to treat the causes of veteran suicide. We need to arm veterans with resources to cope with their depression and PTSD.”

    The taskforce must report on their findings to the General Assembly by December 31, 2016.