SB866

  • Tom Cullerton fights veterans’ suicide epidemic with a series of new laws

    tc consol 051717VILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is tackling another obstacle found during the Veterans Suicide Taskforce hearings.

    Cullerton’s measure, Senate Bill 1693, to allow deceased veterans with military service to include their veteran status, branch of military and the period of time served in the military on their death certificate, was signed into law today.

    “We need to get to the cause of veteran suicide,” Cullerton said. “The only way to tackle the problem is to have a complete picture. This is a simple way to collect statistics and honor Illinois’ veterans.”

    The idea was suggested by DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgenson, who indicated that veteran suicide was under reported since Illinois death certificates do not include information on the history of U.S. military service.

    “These are our nation’s heroes. They took care of us, now it is our time to take care of them,” Cullerton said. “Every life we save is priceless.”

    Senate Bill 1693 is the second measure signed into law that originated from Cullerton’s Veterans Suicide Taskforce hearings.

    The first measure, Senate Bill 866, that requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide information and education on service animals to veterans, was signed into law on August 11, 2017.

    Under current law, the DVA isn’t required to provide information or resources on how a veteran might obtain a service animal.

    “The DVA should be a one-stop shop for our veterans,” Cullerton said. “There is a stigma within the veterans’ community on using traditional treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  We haven’t been able to explore the effects of using service dogs as alternative treatments since there is a lack of awareness in the veterans’ community.”

    The Illinois Veterans Suicide Task Force was formed by a measure Cullerton led in 2014. As co-chairman Cullerton held six hearings throughout the state to investigate the causes of veteran suicide and released a report to the General Assembly in December of 2016.

    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.

    Senate Bill 1693 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. This new law goes into effect on January 1, 2018. 

  • Tom Cullerton’s measure to combat veterans’ suicide epidemic signed into law

    Sen. Tom CullertonVILLA PARK- Illinois veterans may soon have another outlet for therapy, thanks to Villa Park Democrat, Tom Cullerton.

    This is Cullerton’s first initiative from the Veterans Suicide Taskforce that signed into law today.

    “Our veterans are our community’s heroes. Illinois’ military members and veterans put their life on the line every day, now is the time for us to take care of them,” Cullerton said. “Every life we save is priceless.”

    Cullerton’s Senate Bill 866 to require the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide information and education on service animals to veterans is now law.

  • Tom Cullerton passes measures to help combat veterans’ suicide epidemic

    tcullerton crwdfndSPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has advanced plans to tackle issues found during the Veterans Suicide Taskforce hearings.

    Cullerton passed Senate Bill 1693 to allow deceased veterans with military service to include their veteran status, branch of military and the period of time served in the military on their death certificate.

    “We need to get to the root of veteran suicide epidemic,” Cullerton said. “We can only tackle this problem after we have a complete picture of cause of this problem. This is a simple way to collect statistics and honor Illinois’ veterans.”

    The idea was suggested by DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgenson, who indicated that veteran suicide was under reported since Illinois death certificates do not include information on the history of U.S. military service.

    “Our veterans are our community’s heroes. Illinois’ military members and veterans put their life on the line every day, now is the time for us to take care of them,” Cullerton said. “Every life we save is priceless.”

    Cullerton also passed Senate Bill 866 to require the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide information and education on service animals to veterans.

    Under current law, the DVA isn’t required to provide information or resources on how a veteran might obtain a service animal.

    “The DVA should be a one-stop shop for our veterans,” Cullerton said. “There is a stigma within the veterans’ community on using traditional treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  We haven’t been able to explore the effects of using service dogs as alternative treatments since there is a lack of awareness in the veterans’ community.”

    Cullerton hopes this small step will help make service dogs readily available to veterans to cope with PTSD. Among who have used or are aware of service dogs there is a high demand. However, trained dogs can be difficult to find.

    “Using service dogs as treatment for PTSD could be the key to ending the veteran suicide epidemic,” Cullerton said.

    Senate Bill 866 and Senate Bill 1693 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now move to the House for consideration.