Governor Bruce Rauner today took action on five bills as part of Veterans Day at the 2016 Illinois State Fair. The bills strengthen Illinois' commitment to our veterans and their families by providing needed assistance and honor to those who have sacrificed so much for our country and our state.
"The selflessness of our American heroes can never truly be repaid, but here in Illinois we are making it easier for our men and women to return home and have prosperous futures," said Governor Rauner. "We are investing in our veterans' futures while never forgetting those we have lost along the way."
Two of the bills support the families of our Illinois veterans. HB 4389 designates the day after Gold Star Mother's Day as Gold Star Family Day to be observed throughout the Illinois as a day to honor and commemorate the families of men and women who gave their lives while serving with the armed forces of the United States. HB 4432 allows a child in any grades 6 through 12 to be absent from a public school for the purpose of sounding "Taps" at a military honor funeral held in Illinois for a deceased veteran.
"Our Gold Star Families have made the ultimate sacrifice for the people of this country. They have lost their loved ones in service to our nation. That loss and their resilience should be remembered and honored every single year," Governor Rauner added.
The Governor also signed bills to assist veterans' transition from military life to life as a civilian and increase the level of care within Veterans' Homes.
HB 4627 allows veterans to begin their college education upon discharge regardless of how the calendar year lines up.
"By establishing an admissions process in which honorably discharged veterans are permitted to submit an application for admission to the university as a freshman student enrolling in the spring semester, if the veteran was on active duty during the fall semester, will not force the veteran to put their life on hold just because the calendar does not match up," said Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "I thank the Governor and the legislature for providing this important benefit to our Illinois Heroes."
HB5938 amends the Veterans' Home Nurses' Loan Repayment Act to expand the scope of the program to include eligible physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses, rather than limiting the act to just nurses. HB 5003 requires, rather than allows, the Chief Judge of each judicial circuit to establish a Veterans and Service Members Court program to help those veterans that have fallen on hard times.
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