A new state law will streamline veteran identification services and make it easier for homeless veterans to access needed medical benefits. Governor Bruce Rauner also approved legislation confirming Nov. 4th as GI Bill of Rights Day to pay tribute to the American Legion committee.
To make it easier for veterans to acquire the benefits they deserve, Rauner enacted HB 4848, requiring health care providers to provide one free, complete copy of a patient’s medical records if the patient is an indigent homeless veteran. The new law will help these men and women in need more easily access the critical services and benefits they have earned.
Also among the bills was HB 4332, legislation expanding acceptable forms of proof needed to obtain a veteran’s designation on identification cards, simplifying the process for Illinois veterans. The Governor also signed into law HB 4576 and SB 2225, allowing combat veterans and veterans who earned the Southeast Asia Service Medal during Operation Desert Storm to have the feat reflected on their auto license plates.
“I want to thank one of my constituents who served in Operation Desert Storm and who brought this idea forward," State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris said. "If our veterans who served in Southwest Asia want to be able to have on their license plate that they served our country, they should be able to do that. I want to thank all our veterans for their service, selflessness, and bravery. You are the backbone of our great country.”
In addition to the veteran’s designation bills, Rauner enacted HB 4954, providing that each year, the 4th of November be observed throughout the state as GI Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 1944 landmark legislation that provided benefits to World War II veterans.
“House Bill 4954 designates November 4th as GI Bill of Rights Day, taking steps toward not only underscoring the importance of landmark legislation benefiting our veterans, but also highlighting the need for future legislation that protects and cares for our servicemen and women,” said Senator Fowler R-Harrisburg. “It was my privilege to be the chief sponsor to this bill, and I would like to thank Governor Rauner for his support of this measure.”
Also signed into law was HB 4849, allowing the National Guard Construction Fund to be used for all construction costs, including maintenance and repairs, and ensures the Illinois Department of Military Affairs is federally compliant in distributing funds for construction projects.
“We must continuously keep our American heroes at the forefront of our minds and hearts," state Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia said. "These new laws do that by helping and honoring them. I want to thank Gov. Rauner for signing them into law, and I most importantly, I want to thank all our veterans for their service and sacrifice.”