SPRINGFIELD— 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.
SPRINGFIELD— 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.
SPRINGFIELD – 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.
SPRINGFIELD—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.
SPRINGFIELD – 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.
SPRINGFIELD - 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.
SPRINGFIELD – 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.
PEORIA – 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.
EDWARDSVILLE – 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.
JOLIET — 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.
Wadsworth, 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
According 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.
With 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.
VILLA 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.
SPRINGFIELD—Legislation allowing Illinois veterans between the ages of 35 and 40 to apply to become firefighters was signed into law Monday.
Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) sponsored the new law in the Senate, and Representative Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) initiated it in the House.
“Ability—not age—should be what qualifies a candidate, especially a veteran, to be a firefighter. Keeping fire departments fully staffed is always an issue—especially in rural areas—and we shouldn’t turn veterans away because of age,” Sullivan said.
The new law, House Bill 3203, allows veterans who turned 35 while serving in the military and are currently under the age of 40, to take an exam for a firefighter position.
Currently, no one who is 35 or older can apply to be a firefighter unless they have previously served as one.
The law applies to active duty or reserve members of the military, including national guardsmen.
The governor signed the law Monday, and it takes effect immediately.
SPRINGFIELD – Disabled veterans will see property tax relief and active military personnel gain added ID and credit security under two newly signed laws sponsored by state Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan).
“Our service men and women put their lives on the line to protect us. I’m honored to be able play a part in providing them some financial relief and security,” Link said. The proposals he sponsored – SB 107 and HB 3425 – were signed Sunday by the governor.
This new law take effect immediately and provides property tax relief for veterans who have accessibility improvements, such as wheelchair ramps, made to their homes. Accessibility projects can cost thousands of dollars and increase the value of homes, meaning disabled veterans are hit with higher property tax bills just for making their homes more livable.
Senator Link sponsored the proposal after a disabled veteran living in his district partially remodeled her kitchen to make room for her walker, only to have her assessed evaluation increase. After numerous appeals, she won her case to have the evaluation lowered. She then pursued a change to state law to make sure accessibility projects don’t affect property taxes.
Senator Link was able to deliver for her. Thanks to his legislation such improvements will not increase the assessed valuation of the property for a period of seven years after the improvements are completed.
In addition, many disabled veterans will qualify for additional property tax relief. For instance, a veteran with a service-related disability of 30 percent to 50 percent qualifies for a $2,500 property tax exemption. Previously this veteran would not qualify for any exemption.
A veteran with a service-connected disability of 50-70 percent qualifies for a $5,000 exemption, up from the previous $2,500.
And a veteran with a service-connected disability of 70 percent or more is exempt from taxation. Previously this veteran would qualify for a $5,000 exemption.
“These soldiers personally sacrificed so much for our country and freedoms. It’s time we recognized that and do what we can to give back,” said Link.
SB 107 takes effect immediately.
Military personnel are often the target of identity thieves and credit scams. In fact, a Federal Trade Commission report found they are victimized twice as often as the general public.
In response, Senator Link was the chief Senate sponsor of HB 3425, which offers free credit freezes for active military personnel and veterans.
Previously, consumer reporting agencies could charge consumers up to $10 each time they request a credit freeze. Credit security freezes prevent new creditors from accessing a person’s credit report. This prevents identity thieves from opening a new account in a veteran’s name.
The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, eliminates the charge for military personnel and veterans.
CHICAGO- State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) joined Alderman Villegas on Monday in support of his effort to fund a construction project for a veterans home in Chicago. The project is at a standstill due to a lack of funding.
“Our veterans deserve and depend on this home as a very important resource,” Delgado said. “If this project falls apart it will prevent them from living a worry-free life, and that is unacceptable.”
If it’s completed, the home would be capable of housing 200 veterans in private rooms fitted with private bathrooms and would feature a common dining area and recreational facilities. The federal government has committed to supply 65 percent of the required funding, but the governor recently rescinded about $4 million of the remaining state funding needed to complete the project. If the funding is not restored the grants from the federal government may be jeopardized. The scheduled opening date for the facility has already been pushed back about 6 months to January 2017.
RUSHVILLE— Longtime Rushville physician Dr. Russell Dohner passed away Friday morning. Dohner had served the people of Rushville and Schuyler County from 1955 to 2013 when he retired at age 88.
“Dr. Dohner stood for everything you wanted to see in a doctor: He was hardworking, compassionate, thoughtful, humble and involved with the community. He touched the lives of generations and was a truly remarkable man. He will be deeply missed,” State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said.
Dohner received national attention for his long career and for his practice of only charging $5 per visit regardless of his expense. He didn’t take appointments, saw patients on a first-come-first served basis and wouldn’t leave until every patient was seen.
Dohner was a World War II veteran and a graduate of Northwestern University Medical School. He was born in Vermont, Ill. in 1925 and passed away at age 90.
In 2013 Dohner served as the grand marshal of the Illinois State Fair parade and made the simple statement, “I'm a general practitioner: I do whatever I can to help people."
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