As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, Jack Franks has a record of advocating on behalf of veterans, ensuring that veterans and their loved ones are provided benefits during their life and after they pass on.
In 2008, Franks chaired hearing where families of soldiers killed in the line of duty testified they had yet to receive promised financial assistance from the state. At that time, it was revealed that 74 veteran families were waiting for their Line-of-Duty benefit. Franks promptly filed and passed legislation that directed the Comptroller to pay overdue Line-of-Duty benefits. When soldiers make the ultimate sacrifice for this country, the least we can do is keep our promise to take care of their families.
Franks worked to help active-duty military personnel make the most of their short time on leave by passing a 2010 law to allow them to hunt and fish without obtaining a license from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Many military families are also sportsmen families who enjoy these activities.
Servicemen and women will be able to enjoy more time with their loved ones, rather than worry about the red tape involved in obtaining a license.
To help veterans hit the ground running upon their return from active duty, Franks co-sponsored legislation to create the Illinois Jobs for Veterans Task Force within the Governor's Office. The Task Force reviews and prepares a report on the training received by active military service members to determine if the training applies towards or satisfies any State professional licensure requirements.
Franks voted to create the Disposition of Veterans' Remains Act, which requires funeral directors to make a reasonable effort to determine if a deceased person, whose remains have been submitted for final disposition by cremation, was a veteran of the armed forces, the spouse of a veteran, or dependent child of a veteran. If yes, the funeral director must notify the authorizing agent that the decedent may be eligible to be interred at a veterans' cemetery.
Franks has co-sponsored bills to reduce returning veterans' property taxes. Franks bills apply the homestead tax exemption when a veteran acquires a principal residence the same year he or she returns from duty. Furthermore, under Franks' legislation, a veteran does not lose a previously awarded homestead exemption just because he or she subsequently becomes a resident of a facility licensed under the Nursing Home Care Act or a facility operated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Additionally, Franks has advocated for ensuring veteran funds from the budget actually reach the veterans they are intended to support. He co-sponsored legislation directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to employ and maintain sufficient qualified staff at veterans' homes. The legislation also provided that no more than 10 percent of the moneys in the Veterans Service Organization Reimbursement Fund may be used by the Department of Veterans' Affairs for administrative purposes. Moreover, Franks co-sponsored legislation providing that veterans will not be liable for any services provided by a State mental health facility which are not covered by the veteran's existing insurance plan.